Despite Vows, Dunkin' Can't Quit Styrofoam

Chain believes eco-unfriendly foam is still the best way to serve your coffee
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2016 7:41 AM CDT
Despite Vows, Dunkin' Can't Quit Styrofoam
Six years after vowing to stop using eco-unfriendly Styrofoam cups, many Dunkin' Donuts outlets are still using them.   (AP Photo/Dunkin' Donuts)

Six years after vowing to give up Styrofoam, Dunkin' Donuts is still using its iconic, eco-unfriendly cups, reports Business Insider. The coffee chain declared ridding itself of Styrofoam the "#1 sustainability priority" in 2010, yet a majority of outlets still use cups made of Styrofoam, or polystyrene, which is the fifth-largest source of hazardous waste in the nation, per the Green Events Commission. True, the foam cups are identifiable and they keep coffee hot. But with more eco-friendly materials on the menu at some Dunkin' Donuts outlets, why not switch altogether? "We are not prepared to transition fully out of foam at this time," a company rep tells Business Insider.

Dunkin' Donuts thinks the best alternative to Styrofoam is a recyclable plastic called polypropylene, which the chain uses in places where foam is banned. It took the company years of research to come up with the new cup, which still has two disadvantages: It's more expensive than foam, and the lid, which customers don't like, is still made of polystyrene. Meanwhile, Starbucks, the world's largest coffee chain, uses paper cups made of 10% recycled fibers for hot beverages. And with other fast-food chains such as McDonald's phasing out foam, environmental activists say Dunkin' Donuts is dragging its heels. "They're in a comfortable spot because they've made the commitment, and now they say they're just trying to get the logistics right," an anti-foam activist tells Business Insider. (More Dunkin Donuts stories.)

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