Part of a continuing series of inventor portraits.
Inventor: William Walsh
Invention: Convertible Pizza Box
Patent: No. 7,051,919
Brand Name: Greenbox
The Green Box is a brand of environmentally friendly food containers. The inaugural product, the Green Box Pizza, is made from 100% recycled materials and features several patented design elements. The top half is perforated to split up into 4 plates. The bottom half folds up into a container for storing leftovers.
Will says that back in college he and his housemates were watching football and eating pizza, and nobody was using plates. So he tore up a pizza box and handed out improvised plates. His housemates were amazed, but he dismissed it, assuming everybody did that. He says, “I thought it was standard operating procedure.” Ten years later, people were similarly amazed when he tore up a pizza box at a friend’s daughter’s birthday party. This time, with the wisdom of a business degree and a minor in mechanical engineering, he decided there might actually be a way to turn this practice into a business.
“I went to a local restaurant, I bought 50 or 100 pizza boxes — the guy thought I was out of my mind — and an exacto knife, and a straightedge ruler. I spent 3 or 4 days in my apartment creating different options, like different alternatives how I could utilize this base material to do something else… I came up with 4 or 5 different designs, and I took the best function from each design and came up with this current design.”
Now I’m hungry.