OAK BROOK, Ill. –
McDonald’s announced this week that it would phase foam cups by the end of this
year, the Chicago
Tribune reports. The fast-food chain also said it would switch to recycled
and certified sources for all fiber-based packaging by the end of the decade.
This marks the
first time the burger chain put out a deadline to jettison polystyrene beverage
containers, which, for large cold drinks, represents only 2% of its packaging.
Environmentalists have been after the company to switch to more eco-friendly
cups for years. McDonald’s already uses environmentally friendly paper
containers and wrappings, but had hung onto its foam cups.
As You Sow, a
corporate responsibility organization that has pressed McDonald’s to get rid of
foam cups, said the chain will be outlining a packaging and recycling
initiative soon. Close to 27 years ago, McDonald’s made a splay when it
discontinued polystyrene clamshells for its burgers and other menu items.
hopeful that the move to stop using foam cups will resonate with other
fast-food companies, such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Chick-fil-A, which still use
the polystyrene drink containers. The McDonald’s decision will impact all of
its restaurants both in the United States and abroad. “It sends a global signal
and that’s of value,” said Conrad MacKerron, a senior vice president with As
You Sow. “It’s taken a long time, but better late than never.”