Dunkin' Donuts pledges to ditch foam cups

Howard Schultz: Incoming CEO is 'better suited to run Starbucks'
Howard Schultz: Incoming CEO is 'better suited to run Starbucks'

Dunkin' Donuts is ditching foam cups in favor of a greener option.

The coffee chain will eliminate polystyrene styrofoam cups in its global supply chain beginning in spring 2018, the company said Wednesday. It plans to eliminate foam cups altogether by 2020.

They will be replaced by a recyclable, double-walled paper cup certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard, the company said. That means that the paper is responsibly sourced.

"We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests," Karen Raskopf, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer of Dunkin' Brands, said in a statement.

Related: This is what the new Dunkin' Donuts stores will look like

The chain, which has more than 9,000 locations across the U.S. and another 3,400 stores globally, is already using the paper cups in some of its markets, according to the company.

Dunkin' (DNKN)estimates that one billion foam cups will be taken out of the waste system annually once the transition is complete. The company uses about two billion cups per year, it said.

Unlike the foam cups, which can clog landfills and take a long time to decompose, the new cups are mostly recyclable. Dunkin' says the recyclability will vary according to the waste management services provided at the state or local level.

The cup's high impact polystyrene lid is not recyclable, but the company says it is working to make one that is.

Related: McDonald's is going green

Dunkin' is not the first fast food chain to end its relationship with foam.

McDonald's (MCD)said it will eliminate styrofoam cups last month, and plans to use renewable or recyclable materials in all of its packaging by 2025.

Dunkin' has been searching for a replacement to its styrofoam cups for at least six years, the company said.

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