When The Takeout recently held a morning coffee taste test here in our offices, Dunkin’ Donuts won handily against the likes of McDonald’s, 7-11, even Starbucks brands of java. And yet, I often bypass the superior (and cheaper than Starbucks) coffee, due to my possibly misguided belief that the styrofoam cups it comes in are worse for the environment than paper (and often, also non-recyclable) versions.
Turns out, I’m not alone in my disdain for the polystyrene foam, so much so that the chain is making an all-important materials change. The Boston Globe reports that the company announced in a press release Wednesday that it “will begin the process of getting rid of all of the polystyrene cups starting this spring and will replace them with a ‘double-walled’ paper cup in its U.S. restaurants.” The double-wall will do the all-important job of protecting customers’ paws from the scalding hot coffee (without a sleeve); not to worry, Dunkin’s popular re-closable coffee lid will stay intact.
In a tweet, the company called the change to paper cups “more sustainable,” and its official announcement notes that the move will eliminate a billion styrofoam cups from the waste stream. New York City and California DD locations will be the first to see the new paper cups, “followed by a phased roll out at its thousands of other locations in the U.S.” The company is apparently on quite a self-improvement kick: It recently announced it would also eliminate artificial dyes from its beverages and frostings.
Just judging from a quick Twitter survey, most DD coffee drinkers are on board with this change, which frankly seems a bit overdue. The consumers most concerned appear to be the iced-coffee fans used to putting the plastic iced cup into the polystyrene cup so that they can walk around without freezing their hands. A new solution for this problem remains to be worked out once the “double-wall” cups entirely take over.