Dunkin’ Donuts to stop using foam cups by 2020

Dunkin' Donuts has committed to stop using polystyrene foam cups by 2020, a move which the company claims could remove nearly one billion foam cups from the waste stream each year.

Phase out will begin this spring at all Dunkin’ Donut restaurants in New York City and California, having already been piloted at the company’s next generation store in its birthplace of Quincy, Mass.

The foam will be replaced by a double-walled paper cup, which is made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard. The new cup will feature the current re-closable lid and will be used for all of the brand’s hot beverages, including coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

Dunkin’ Donuts says that it will maintain the heat return properties equal to the company’s foam cup, keeping beverages hot while keeping hands cool, without the need for a sleeve.

“With more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry,” the company’s chief sustainability officer Karen Raskopf said.

“We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests.”

The global switch to paper cups is expected to be completed by 2020 as supplier manufacturing capabilities ramp up.

The move follows Dunkin Donuts’ earlier commitments to eliminate artificial dyes from its menu, build energy efficient restaurants and partner with the Rainforest Alliance to source certified coffee.

Previous packaging commitments include sourcing a four-cup carrier made of recycled newsprint, moves to napkins and bagel bags made from 100% recycled paper and a transition of cold beverage cup lids from PET to recyclable polypropylene. The latter pledge is expected to take 500,000 pounds of material out of the waste stream each year once completed in summer 2018.

Resource revolution

The corporate sustainability world has been awash with resource efficiency commitments this year. In the past week alone, Asda has become the latest supermarket to join the war against plastic by pledging to slash the amount in its own-brand packaging by 10% in the next 12 months.

That news came on the same day that London City Airport became the first airport in the UK to place an outright ban on plastic straws across food and drink outlets on its premises, instead obliging outlets to use biodegradable straws available on request.

Plastics has also been high on the domestic political agenda. On Tuesday (6 February), more than 100 MPs, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, pledged to reduce single-use plastic consumption within their local constituencies, after committing to Sky Ocean Rescue’s #PassOnPlastic pledge.

George Ogleby

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