McDonald’s to Replace Plastic Foam Cups with Paper for Better Recycling

Allan Gerlat, News Editor

September 27, 2013

1 Min Read
McDonald’s to Replace Plastic Foam Cups with Paper for Better Recycling

McDonald’s Corp. will replace its polystyrene foam hot beverage cups with paper-based cups in response to calls for higher recycled content and capability with its beverage containers.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based restaurant chain said it will switch to the paper cups at all of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants in the coming months, according to a news release from the Oakland, Calif.-based environmental advocacy group, As You Sow.

McDonald’s launched a pilot program in March 2012 replacing the foam cups with double-walled paper cups at 2,000 of their stores. The company confirmed that the pilot program was successful.

“We are pleased that the company decided to make the switch to paper cups permanent and expand it to all of its restaurants,” the organization said. “Paper cups also use significant energy and chemicals in their production, but do not persist in the environment for hundreds of years, as foam does, and are becoming more readily recyclable.”

As You Sow said McDonald’s needs to do more work to have a comprehensive packaging recycling policy. For example, Starbucks uses 10-percent recycled paper fiber in its paper hot beverage cups. It also has agreed to recycle all post-consumer paper and plastic cups discarded in company-owned stores by 2015.

About the Author(s)

Allan Gerlat

News Editor, Waste360

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the publication won 27 national and regional awards.

Before Waste & Recycling News, Allan worked at another Crain Communications publication, Rubber & Plastics News, which covers rubber product manufacturing. He began with the publication as associate editor and eventually became managing editor, a position he held for nine years.

Allan is a graduate of Ohio University, where he earned a BS in journalism. He is based in Sagamore Hills, in northeast Ohio.

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