Dunkin' Donuts to Replace Foam Cups by 2020

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Dunkin' Donuts to Replace Foam Cups by 2020

Dunkin' Donuts double-walled paper cups
Dunkin' Donuts double-walled paper cups

CANTON, Mass. — Dunkin' Donuts will eliminate all polystyrene foam cups in its global supply chain as part of its commitment to serve both people and the planet responsibly. The initiative begins in spring 2018 with a targeted completion date of 2020.

Restaurants in the United States will replace the foam cup with a new, double-walled paper cup. The majority of Dunkin's international markets currently use paper cups, and the company will work with its franchisees to eliminate foam cups from the remaining international markets by the 2020 goal.

The new cup is made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard and will feature Dunkin's current re-closable lid. It will be used for all hot beverages in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes. Its heat retention properties are equal to that of the foam cup, meaning it will keep beverages hot without the need for a sleeve, according to the company.

The cup change complements Dunkin's earlier commitments in the U.S. to have 80 percent of fiber-based consumer-facing packaging certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard by the end of this year; eliminate artificial dyes from the menu; build new, more energy-efficient restaurants; and partner with the Rainforest Alliance to source certified coffee, 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 Karen Raskopf, chief communications and sustainability officer, Dunkin' Brands. "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' announced that its number one sustainability goal was to find an environmentally friendlier coffee cup. Since then, it has worked to find a suitable replacement for the foam cup that met criteria for performance, environmental impact and cost. Dunkin's transition to paper cups will remove nearly one billion foam cups from the waste stream annually, according to the company.

Canton-based Dunkin' Brands Group's 100 percent franchised business model includes more than 12,500 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and nearly 8,000 Baskin-Robbins restaurants.