OAK BROOK, ILL. (March 21, 11 a.m. ET) — McDonald's Corp. might have found a recyclable replacement for its polystyrene foam beverage cups.
About 2,000 of the company's restaurants, mostly West Coast operations, will be testing a double-walled fiber hot cup in an attempt to phase out the usually landfill-bound foam cups, according to a news release. McDonald's said the objective is to assess customer acceptance, operational impact and overall performance.
The switch is in response to a shareholder resolution filed in 2011 by As You Sow, a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building and legal strategies.
As You Sow's shareholder proposal asked McDonald's to assess the environmental impact of different kinds of beverage containers and to develop package recycling goals, according to a news release. Nearly 30 percent of McDonald's shareholders who voted supported the resolution.
“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,” Conrad MacKerron, As You Sow's senior program director, said in a statement. “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.”
McDonald's made a famous switch away from PS foam in 1990, when it phased out its clamshell burger box. But the company has continued to use PS foam cups.