McDonald’s Corp. is testing a more environmentally friendly alternative for its polystyrene foam beverage cups.
The restaurant chain told the environmental advocacy group As You Sow that it is taking a step toward a possible phase-out of the cups. In a test, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s is replacing them with a double-walled fiber hot cup. It is being tested in about 2,000 of its restaurants, primarily on the West Coast. That represents 15 percent of the chain’s restaurants in the United States, the San Francisco-based As You Sow said in a news release.
McDonald’s told the group it was testing the new cup in an effort to seek more environmentally sustainable solutions.
As You Sow passed a shareholder resolution and proposal last year asking McDonald’s to assess the environmental impacts of different kinds of beverage containers and to develop packaging recycling goals. Polystyrene cups typically are not easily recycled.
"This is a great first step for McDonald's, and we hope it will lead to a permanent switch to paper cups in all of its restaurants," said Conrad MacKerron, As You Sow's senior program director. "Given the company's history of using high levels of recycled content in other food packaging, we hope that it follows suit with its cups, and also establishes a robust recycling program for post-consumer waste left in its restaurants."