This Week in Sustainability

Dunkin’ breaks up with foam; McDonald’s finds a sturdier paper straw; and Coca-Cola ditches some shrink wrap.

November 26, 2019

ALEXANDRIA—Sustainability is fast becoming top of mind for convenience and fuel retailers, and at NACS Daily, our newsfeed is filled with headlines about efforts to minimize waste—of the packaging or food variety—and to reduce or offset carbon emissions. Here are some stories we’ve been following in late November.

Dunkin' is saying goodbye to its iconic foam coffee cups. It’s true. Dunkin’ has announced the #DoubleCupBreakup. The chain plans to phase out polystyrene foam cups nationwide by the end of 2020. The hashtag—one of several in a new social media campaign—is a nod to customers who ask for an empty foam cup to insulate their Dunkin’ iced-coffee, which comes in a plastic cup. Customers also use them to keep coffee extra warm, while protecting their hands. Dunkin’ says ditching the foam cups will remove about 19 million pounds of polystyrene from the waste stream annually. In the stores that still use foam cups, hot beverages will soon come in a double-walled paper cup with a plastic lining. (Sources: CNN; the Wall Street Journal)

McDonald’s is testing a hardier paper straw in the United Kingdom. The QSR is rolling out what it calls “an evolved paper straw” in Europe that’s made of fully recyclable materials that should stand up better than the paper straws it introduced in the U.K. in 2018. Some customers complained that the paper straws dissolved too fast in their drinks and weren’t fully recyclable. “Following feedback from customers, and as the packaging industry has evolved, the paper straws being rolled out are now stronger while remaining made of fully recyclable materials,” McDonald’s said. (Source: Nation’s Restaurant News)

Coca-Cola plans to remove shrink wrap from its multipack cans sold in the European Union. By the end of 2021, the soft drink giant and its bottlers will phase out shrink wrap in favor of a fully recyclable paperboard “KeelClip,” which includes a top board that the cans clip into, for multipacks of up to eight cans. Ireland and Poland will be first to get the new packaging early next year, followed by Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Romania. The move will save 2,000 tons of plastic and 3,000 tons of CO2 annually, the company said. (Source: edie).

Tesco plans to remove one billion plastic pieces from products sold in its U.K. stores. Tesco, the U.K.’s largest grocer, is making a serious sustainability push in its stores during the next year. The chain plans to remove small plastic bags used for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items and replace them with paper ones. It also will remove plastic trays from ready meals, as well as secondary lids on products such as cream, yogurts and cereals, and remove sporks and straws from snack pots. Drink cartons will either be removed or replaced with alternative materials as well. The retailer also will ditch more than 200 million pieces of plastic used for packaging on clothing and greeting cards. (Source: edie)

To learn more about minimizing food waste in your foodservice operations, head over to NACS Magazine to read “Waste Not, Want Not” in the August issue, and for more on plastics, see “The New Plastic Economy” in the September issue. To read what industry veteran Jacob Schram has to say about capitalizing on the EV evolution, read “EVs Ahead” in the August issue.