As You Sow would like to send a huge congratulations to Dunkin’ Brands. As one of the largest coffee chains in America, Dunkin’ has made a bold environmental move to eliminate their signature Styrofoam coffee cups in favor of a new, greener option. This decision will remove nearly 1 billion Styrofoam cups from the waste stream annually.
Back in 2011, the company stated that it was making moves towards a more environmentally sustainable material, but did not move quickly to pursue the goal, also working without a set phase-out date. This time around, Dunkin’ has their eye on the prize; the brand has set 2020 as their target date to globally eliminate Styrofoam from their company. The brand will begin this mission by introducing their double-walled paper cups to all Dunkin’ locations in New York City and California, easily two of their largest consumer regions.
The move to switch from Styrofoam may not be new news, but their decision to switch to paper is a surprise. Previously, the company had discussed switching to a polypropylene plastic cup, but has more recently decided to switch to a paper option instead. Senior vice president of As You Sow, Conrad MacKerron, hopes that with this move, Dunkin’ Brands will be able to introduce recycled fiber content in the paper cups, which will strengthen recycling and end markets for these materials.
Other companies have also made huge moves towards environmentally friendly business practices. McDonald’s Corp. has made a recent commitment to phase out foam materials globally by the end of 2018. Starbucks already been using 10 percent recycled paper cups for the past few years, while pledging to offer reusable ceramic cups for customers who drink their coffee on-site, or offer a discount to customers who provide their own reusable mugs. Also, more than 100 U.S. cities or counties have banned or restricted foam packaging, pushing more companies to find alternative materials for their businesses.
There are still many steps that need to be taken to move towards an environmentally business world, but with some of the biggest corporations pledging to the cause and eliminating environmentally hazardous materials, the impact will show and hopefully others will follow their example.
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