The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Dunkin' Says Bye to Foam Cups (But Bring Your Own Thermos Anyway)
Dunkin' Donuts announced Wednesday that it is phasing out its landfill-clogging polystyrene foam cups in favor of paper cups. The company's plan, which kicks off this spring in New York City and California restaurants with a targeted worldwide completion date of 2020, will prevent nearly 1 billion foam cups from entering the waste stream each year—and that's a pretty good thing!
However, as any eco-minded coffee lover already knows, if you purchase a cuppa joe, either sip it from an in-store mug or bring your own thermos.
Dunkin' said that, across its 9,000 U.S. restaurants, foam cups will eventually be replaced with double-walled paper cups made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard. And that's a pretty good thing, too!
But these cups are "mostly recyclable," as in their recyclability depends on whether your state or local waste management services can handle them. Let's also consider the amount of energy and number of trees required to manufacture these paper cups in the first place, or that these cups will end up discarded after a single use anyway.
The donut chain said it already goes through about two billion cups per year for its hot and cold beverages. Most of these beverages also come with plastic lids when served.
Dunkin' said its new double-walled paper cup will still feature the current re-closable polystyrene lid that customers "know and love." That lid is not recyclable, but the company is working on one that is, CNN Money reported.
"We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests," said Karen Raskopf, the chief communications and sustainability officer of Dunkin' Brands.
The company seems to recognize that unsustainable packaging is a major problem and environmental stewardship is important for the brand itself and the food industry as a whole. Dunkin' touted in yesterday's press release that it has started transitioning its lids for cold beverage cups from PET to recyclable #5 polypropylene, "a change that will take 500,000 pounds of material out of the waste stream per year once completed in summer 2018."
Again, a good thing. But better yet, your own reusable mug comes with zero throwaway lids. Another bonus? You'll even get a discount on Dunkin's hot or iced coffee refills if you bring your own cup.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
In 2017 the Thomas fire raged through 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, California, leaving in its wake a blackened expanse of land, burned vegetation, and more than 1,000 destroyed buildings.
By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla
As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.
By Lauren Wolahan
For the first time ever, the UN is building out a roadmap for curbing carbon pollution from agriculture. To take part in that process, a coalition of U.S. farmers traveled to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Spain this month to make the case for the role that large-scale farming operations, long criticized for their outsized emissions, can play in addressing climate change.