From our grantee, As You Sow:
After significant engagement with As You Sow, McDonald's Corp. has confirmed that it will replace its polystyrene foam hot beverage cups with paper cups at all 14,000 U.S. restaurants. This welcome action comes in response to its 2011 shareholder proposal asking the company to use more environmentally beneficial materials for beverage containers and to set recycled content and post-consumer cup recovery goals. Nearly 30% of shareholder votes supported its proposal. In 2012, after dialogue with As You Sow, the company unveiled a pilot program replacing foam with paper cups at 2,000 West Coast locations. The company has confirmed the pilot was successful and that it will be transitioning to double-walled paper cups.
The company’s decision to stop using foam beverage cups will reduce the threat of plastic pollution to the world’s oceans and provide a more recyclable, valuable alternative in paper fiber. McDonald’s has made a decent start by phasing out foam but needs to go further and incorporate recycled fiber in their cups as Starbucks has and develop on-site systems to collect and recycle food service packaging as Pret A Manger has.
As You Sow is also in dialogue with Dunkin’ Donuts, which uses foam hot beverage cups. Dunkin’ recently announced plans to phase out foam cups in two to three years but has not disclosed what materials it will use instead.