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Dunkin' Donuts Introduces Paper Cups, Plans to Phase Out Styrofoam

Dunkin' Donuts Introduces Paper Cups, Plans to Phase Out Styrofoam

You're pretty used to the clunky foam cup you get at your local Dunkin' Donuts, but soon, that may all change. The Boston Globe reports that the chain is quietly testing out paper cups at its Brookline, Mass., locations after criticism from environmental groups and cities that are banning Styrofoam.

Brookline, Mass., has banned the use of Styrofoam, effective Dec. 1; but the cups are expected to land in Maine and New York very soon, as similar bans are being proposed. Of course, new paper cups pose a whole new set of challenges for the chain, namely, how to keep that distinctive Styrofoam "feel" in a paper cup. Scott Murphy, Dunkin’s chief supply officer, told the Boston Globe that the chain worked with a design agency to mimic the same Styrofoam cup so that customers would have an easy transition. "It’s a little cheeky, but we can’t use foam, so we made a paper cup that looks like foam," he said.

Of course, environmental groups are raising their eyebrows, thanks to the new cups' plastic lining on the inside. The problem? That plastic lining means those paper cups most likely will end up in landfills, and not recycled. Still, Murphy told the Boston Globe that this wasn't the "end-all" paper cup for the chain, and that more kinks needed to be worked out. Until then, your Styrofoam, landfill-loving cup is safe: "I don’t want to switch out of foam for something that is not better for our consumers, for our franchisees and the environment, for the sake of switching," said Murphy.

Update: In a statement, Dunkin' Donuts clarified that paper cups without a plastic lining are not currently available in the industry: "Every paper cup that holds hot coffee, from Dunkin' Donuts and our competitors, have a poly lining to prevent leakages, and these cups are not widely recycled."

Dunkin' Donuts Plans To Finally Get Rid Of Foam Cups By 2020

After years of teasing plans to eliminate plastic foam cups from all of its stores, Dunkin’ Donuts says it’s finally ready to deliver.

The popular coffee chain announced on Wednesday that it would replace all its polystyrene foam cups with sustainably sourced, double-walled paper cups by 2020. That milestone achievement, which the company said would eliminate nearly 1 billion foam cups from the waste stream annually, follows Dunkin’ announcing a similar goal for 2016.

Though the company missed that mark, it’s not because they haven’t been trying, a Dunkin’ spokesperson said.

In an email to HuffPost on Thursday, the company said replacing the foam cups has been a “No. 1 priority issue,” but suggested that an unpopular lid is to blame for the delay.

“Over the years we have tested countless cups with mixed results. In fact, a few years ago we considered switching our system to a polypropylene cup, but we found it did not offer the best experience for our guests because they did not like its lid,” the statement read.

Customers not preferring a certain lid may sound like a small issue ― especially when compared to polystyrene foam’s detrimental impact on the world’s landfills ― but when it came to their business, it mattered.

“Transitioning 9,000 restaurants from our iconic foam coffee cup is a big decision that has implications for our franchisees’ bottom line and the guest experience, and we did not want to take it lightly,” the company said.

Nearly six years ago, the company said in a 2012 corporate report that they hoped to find a more environmentally friendly cup within the next two to three years. This followed five years of unsuccessful searching for 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 winning solution: Trading out the foam and keeping the stores’ current lid.

The new cups, which Dunkin’ plans to begin rolling out this spring, will be composed of paperboard that’s certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, the company said.

Though the more eco-conscious cups may feel different, the company insists that it will keep beverages just as hot as its current foam cups and that an extra sleeve won’t be needed to keep hands cool.

“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,” Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, Dunkin’ Brands, said in a statement.

Dunkin’s announcement follows that of McDonald’s, which vowed last month to make its packaging 100 percent green by 2025. That means that all of its consumer packaging will be made out of renewable, recyclable and certified materials within seven years. Recycling bins are also being added to all of its stores.

McDonald’s previously vowed to eliminate foam packaging from its global supply chain by the end of 2018.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story referred to polystyrene foam cups as Styrofoam. “Styrofoam” is actually the trademarked name for a Dow Chemical Company foam product used in construction and crafts, but not for food packaging.

Dunkin' Donuts to Eliminate Foam Cups Worldwide in 2020

CANTON, Mass. , Feb. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its commitment to serve both people and the planet responsibly, Dunkin' Donuts, a leading retailer of hot, brewed coffee, today announced plans to eliminate all polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain beginning in spring 2018, with a targeted completion date of 2020. In U.S. restaurants, Dunkin' Donuts will replace the foam cup with a new, double-walled paper cup. The majority of Dunkin' Donuts' international markets are currently using paper cups, and the brand will work with its franchisees to eliminate foam cups from the remaining international markets by the 2020 goal.

The move complements Dunkin' Donuts' earlier commitments in the U.S. to have 80% of fiber-based consumer-facing packaging certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard by the end of this year eliminate artificial dyes from its menu build new, more energy-efficient restaurants and partner with the Rainforest Alliance to source certified coffee.

The new, double-walled paper cup is already in use at Dunkin' Donuts' next generation concept store, which opened in mid-January in the company's birthplace of Quincy, Mass. It will be introduced at all Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in New York City and California in spring 2018, and will be phased in across the U.S. as supplier manufacturing capabilities ramp up.

The double-walled paper cup is made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard and will feature the current re-closable lid that Dunkin' customers know and love. Like Dunkin' Donuts' current hot beverage offerings, the new double-walled paper cup will come in four sizes -- small, medium, large and extra-large -- and will be used for all of the brand's hot beverages, including coffee, lattes, macchiatos, tea and hot chocolate. With heat retention properties equal to the company's foam cup, the new double-walled paper cup will keep beverages hot while keeping hands cool, without the need for a sleeve.

According to Karen Raskopf , Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, Dunkin' Brands, "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. We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests. Transitioning away from foam has been a critical goal for Dunkin' Donuts U.S., 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."

In 2011, Dunkin' Donuts announced that its number one sustainability goal was to find an environmentally friendlier coffee cup. Over the past several years, the brand has worked extensively to find a suitable replacement for the foam cup that met criteria for performance, environmental impact and cost. Dunkin' Donuts' transition to paper cups will remove nearly 1 billion foam cups from the waste stream annually.

Dunkin' Donuts remains committed to sustainable packaging and will continue to explore additional opportunities to increase recycled or certified content for other consumer-facing packaging. Since 2005, the brand has made a number of important packaging improvements in the U.S., including:

  • 2005: Began sourcing a four-cup carrier made of recycled newsprint.
  • 2009: Transitioned to napkins made with 100% recycled paper and added recycled content to espresso sleeves, cup carriers and Box O' Joe ® .
  • 2014: Transitioned to bagel bags made with 100% recycled paper, saving an estimated 20 million pounds of virgin paper per year.
  • 2015: Began transition of the 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.
  • 2016: Issued a new Sustainable Pulp and Paper Sourcing policy with a goal to source paperboard certified to the SFI Standard for 80% of its consumer-facing fiber-based packaging by the end of 2018.

Dunkin' Brands, the parent company of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, continues to make important progress towards its corporate social responsibility goals, including:

    Sustainable Building: In 2014, Dunkin' Donuts launched DD Green™ Achievement, a program designed to help franchisees build sustainable, energy-efficient restaurants in the U.S. There are now approximately 186 DD Green Achievement restaurants around the country. Dunkin' Brands has set a target to open 500 DD Green Achievement restaurants in the U.S. by the end of 2020. Additionally, the new next generation concept store now being introduced into the system is approximately 25% more energy-efficient than the previous restaurant model.

To learn more about Dunkin' Brands' CSR initiatives, please see the 2016 CSR report here: The next CSR report will be published in spring 2019.

Founded in 1950, Dunkin' Donuts is America's favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods. Dunkin' Donuts is a market leader in the hot regular/decaf/flavored coffee, iced coffee, donut, bagel and muffin categories. Dunkin' Donuts has earned a No. 1 ranking for customer loyalty in the coffee category by Brand Keys for 12 years running. The company has more than 12,500 restaurants in 46 countries worldwide. Based in Canton, Mass. , Dunkin' Donuts is part of the Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: DNKN) family of companies. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Michelle King
Dunkin' Brands
[email protected]

Dunkin’ Donuts saying goodbye to foam cups

CANTON, Mass. (WPRI) – So long, styrofoam.

Dunkin’ Donuts announced in a press release Wednesday the coffee giant will phase out foam cups.

The transition will begin this spring and Dunkin’ Donuts hopes for a complete phaseout by 2020.

The foam cups will be replaced with double-walled paper cups. The paper cups are currently in use at a limited number of locations and are intended to be used without a sleeve.

The update is one step in the brand’s outlined commitment to sustainability.

According to the release, the paper cups are certified to be sustainable and will feature the same lids already in use.

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Dunkin’ Globally Eliminates Styrofoam Cups

As You Sow would like to send a huge congratulations to Dunkin&rsquo Brands. As one of the largest coffee chains in America, Dunkin&rsquo 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&rsquo 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&rsquo 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&rsquo 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&rsquos 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.

This press release is presented without editing for your information. MOTHER EARTH NEWS does not recommend, approve or endorse the products and/or services offered. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase.

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Dunkin' Donuts announced plans to get rid of foam cups 6 years ago, and yet.

France has just become the first country to put a formal ban on plastic plates and cups in the name of the environment, but here in the United States, one of the biggest coffee chains still serves its joe in foam cups, a barely recyclable, planet-antagonizing piece of dishware.

Dunkin' Donuts has been saying for six years that it plans to do away with the foam cups, but the company has yet to enact real change.

Foam cups wreck the environment

Eleven U.S. states (plus Washington D.C.) have cities and counties that instituted bans on foam products, Groundswell reported. Why? Those insulating foam cups do a number on Mother Earth.

The foam is not easily biodegradable — the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that foam cups will still be sitting in landfills 500 years from now, National Waste Associates stated. Foam cups can easily crumble into tiny pieces and make their way through storm drains and into marine environments, the Natural Resources Defense Council and As You Sow stated in a report, noting that minuscule foam pieces can be a threat to animals.

Even before it's put into the consumers' hands, the material, known as polystyrene, can put factory workers at risk. Chemicals that get released during the foam's manufacturing are a carcinogen, Green Home noted.

Tons of companies have wised up to foam's failings. McDonald's phased out foam in 2013 after a successful pilot program, Environmental Working Group reported. Jamba Juice announced in 2012 that it would phase out foam, Huffington Post reported, and it did so the following year. Meanwhile, Starbucks has been using 10% post-consumer recycled paper fiber in its cups in North America since 2006.

Dunkin' Donuts' slow progress toward sustainability

When it comes to getting sustainable cups in the hands of consumers, Dunkin' is moving slower than a caffeine addict drinking decaf.

Back in a 2010 report, Dunkin' Donuts said that eliminating its foam cups was "the most prominent sustainability issue we must deal with." Flash forward to 2012: The company announced it hoped to do away with foam and "roll out a cup that meets our cost, performance and environmental criteria within 2 to 3 years."

Today, the company says it's still committed to finding more sustainable cups. Key word: "says."

In an email to Mic, Christine Riley Miller, senior director of corporate social responsibility for Dunkin' brands, said Dunkin' intended to have a plan in place by the end of 2015.

"Based on our efforts to date, we believe that an expanded recyclable polypropylene (#5 plastic) cup is currently the best available alternative to foam," Miller said, explaining that cup is used in cities with a foam ban.

But the polypropylene cup has a lid that isn't easily recyclable, and the cup and lid don't satisfy the needs of customers and the company, Miller stated. Plus, the cup and lid combo "is significantly more expensive" than foam, she noted.

"While we remain committed to finding a long-term recyclable alternative to the foam cup, we are not prepared to transition fully out of foam at this time," Miller said.

In the meantime, coffee drinkers could take a hard look at their own beverage habits. One study found that fewer than 2% of Starbucks coffee drinkers use reusable mugs, even though the company offers a 10 cent discount when customers forgo regular paper cups, Sightline Institute noted.

Dunkin' Donuts to replace foam cups with paper by 2020, but not everyone is happy about it

Dunkin’ Donuts announced it would be switching from foam to paper cups by 2020 in an effort to be more eco-friendly, but not everyone is on board with the decision.

The coffee chain shared the news Wednesday, writing that over the next two years, all Dunkin’ locations would transition from the polystyrene foam cups it currently uses to a new style of paper cup, which it claims is “more sustainable, while still keeping your beverages hot and your hands cool.”

“The new, double-walled paper cup is already in use at Dunkin’ Donuts’ next generation concept store, which opened in mid-January in the company’s birthplace of Quincy, Mass. It will be introduced at all Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in New York City and California in spring 2018, and will be phased in across the U.S. as supplier manufacturing capabilities ramp up,” according to a press release.

Due to its negative impact on the environment, there has been a large push to ban the use of the foam material, which decomposes slowly, ends up in oceans and can harm marine life and other animals that ingest it.

While many are praising Dunkin’ for this decision, others seem to care less about the environment and are more upset they won’t have the foam cup to insulate iced coffees and keep hot liquids hot longer.

Dunkin' Donuts pledges to ditch foam cups

Dunkin' Donuts is ditching foam cups in favor of a greener option.The coffee chain will eliminate polystyrene .

Dunkin' Donuts is ditching foam cups in favor of a greener option.

The coffee chain will eliminate polystyrene styrofoam cups in its global supply chain beginning in spring 2018, the company said Wednesday. It plans to eliminate foam cups altogether by 2020.

They will be replaced by a recyclable, double-walled paper cup certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, the company said. That means that the paper is responsibly sourced.

"We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests," Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer of Dunkin' Brands, said in a statement.

The chain, which has more than 9,000 locations across the U.S. and another 3,400 stores globally, is already using the paper cups in some of its markets, according to the company.

Dunkin' estimates that one billion foam cups will be taken out of the waste system annually once the transition is complete. The company uses about two billion cups per year, it said.

Unlike the foam cups, which can clog landfills and take a long time to decompose, the new cups are mostly recyclable. Dunkin' says the recyclability will vary according to the waste management services provided at the state or local level.

The cup's high impact polystyrene lid is not recyclable, but the company says it is working to make one that is.

Dunkin' is not the first fast food chain to end its relationship with foam.

McDonald's said it will eliminate styrofoam cups last month, and plans to use renewable or recyclable materials in all of its packaging by 2025.

Dunkin' has been searching for a replacement to its styrofoam cups for at least six years, the company said.

Dunkin’ Donuts Phasing Out Foam Coffee Cups by 2020

Dunkin’ said the new cups are double-walled paper cups that retain heat and are thick enough to use without a sleeve.

Cara Lombardo

Dunkin’ Donuts will start phasing out its white foam coffee cups beginning this spring and eliminate them by 2020, the restaurant chain said on Wednesday, years after announcing plans to find a more environmentally friendly option.

Dunkin’ Donuts, part of Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., started looking for a replacement to the foam cup in 2011. The company said it “worked extensively” in the ensuing years to find an alternative that was both cost-effective and functional.

The new cups are double-walled paper cups that retain heat and are thick enough to use without a sleeve, Dunkin’ said.

Consumers increasingly expect the businesses they frequent to reduce their environmental footprints and fast-food chains produce some of the most conspicuous waste. McDonald’s Corp. last month said it would stop using foam cups by the end of the year.

While most foam cups are actually made of recyclable plastic, environmental advocates prefer paper cups because plastic foam is difficult to recycle and many places don’t process it. However, cups made from paper also can present problems because many recycling plants don’t accept them either.

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