Dunkin’ Donuts has pledged to withdraw foam cups, removing an estimated billion of them each year from waste disposal. Nick Ames has more
Popular US confectionary chain Dunkin’ Donuts is jumping on the sustainability bandwagon and ditching foam cups from all its stores.
The firm said that the polystyrene containers will be completely phased out globally by 2020, with some outlets in the US halting their use in the coming months.
They will be replaced with double-walled paper cups, beginning in all New York and California restaurants.
The new paper cups will retain heat as effectively as the foam cups they are replacing, the company said.
‘Transitioning away from foam has been a critical goal for Dunkin’ Donuts US and with the double-walled cup, we will be able to offer a replacement that meets the needs and expectations of both our customers and the communities we serve,’ said Karen Raskopf, Dunkin’s chief communications and sustainability officer.
The polystyrene foam cups have been the target of petitions and angry exchanges on social media in the past.
In mid-January, viewers of a Facebook Live video of Dunkin’s next-generation concept store in its hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts, were vocal about the foam cups, calling for their withdrawl. The store then became the first location to use the new paper cups.
The foam material cannot be recycled and its manufacturing process is potentially dangerous. The main ingredient, styrene, has been named a possible human carcinogen.
Nearly six years ago, Dunkin’ said in a corporate report that it hoped to find a more environmentally friendly cup within the next two to three years.
But the company needed to find an alternative product that has ‘the necessary manufacturing capabilities, availability of raw materials, the ability to meet food safety requirements, thermal qualities, and environmental attributes such as recyclability or biodegradability’.
The new cups will be composed of paperboard that’s certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, the company said.
‘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,’ said Raskopf.