McDonalds To Phase Out Styrofoam Cups in 2,000 Stores


McDonalds, one of the largest purchasers of recycled paper, used in its food containers, bags, and napkins, has just announced a major environmental initiative. The company is launching a pilot program to phase out polystyrene beverage cups.  The reason to replace the polystyrene cups with a double-walled paper hot cut at 2,000 of its restaurants, mostly in the Coast, and accounting for 15% of McDonalds US restaurants, is a response to a 2011 shareholder resolution [PDF] by As You Sow. The shareholder proposal received the support of nearly 30% of total company shares voted, a high result for an environmental issue proposal, and the highest vote to date for any As You Sow proposal on recycling.

McDonalds beverage and food packaging is an ongoing controversy about the environmental impacts amid concerns that petroleum-based food packaging persists in the environment for hundreds of years after use. Most often the word “Styrofoam” is generically used to describe expanded polystyrene foam products like disposable coffee cups. McDonalds had a successful track record for phasing out  styrofoam food containers in 1990 and in return  reduced restaurant waste by 30%, eliminated more than 300 million pounds of packaging and saved about $6 million a year. Testing phasing out McDonalds’ styrofoam cups on the West Coast will show customer’s reactions. If this project is feasible, it could be an industry mover for other fast food chains.

via GreenBiz