Fast-food giant Wendy's is switching to all-plastic cups made by Berry Global Group Inc. in a move away from polyethylene-lined paper cups that have proven difficult to recycle.
As part of the switch, Wendy's also is transitioning to clear polypropylene cups that will use 20 percent recycled content.
Recycled-content large cups initially will be available early next year, and Wendy's expects all drink cups will include recycled plastic in 2023. The Wendy's Co. is based in Dublin, Ohio.
Wendy's, Berry and resin producer LyondellBasell Industries jointly revealed the new drink cup plans Oct. 20.
Transitioning completely to plastic cups, the companies said, will divert an estimated 10 million pounds of waste from landfills during the first two years of change. And as the use of recycled content increases throughout Wendy's "entire cup set," the waste diversion total is projected to increase.
Wendy's largest fountain drink cup already is plastic and smaller sizes are paper.
"Giving our natural resources multiple lives requires commitment and collaboration across the value chain," Berry CEO Tom Salmon said in a statement. "Partnering with leading brands that actively pursue opportunities to promote innovative packaging solutions is key to accelerating a circular economy."
Berry has struck a supply agreement with resin maker LyondellBasell for "advanced recycled feedstock resins by mass balance," the companies said. "Mass balance enables recycled plastic to be mixed with virgin plastic and processed in the same place, helping reduce scale-up costs and accelerate the transition to circular raw materials."
"There are many benefits of plastics, including convenience," LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel said in a statement. "The issue we must address is plastic waste."
Wendy's said the move away from plastic-lined paper cups is "more sustainable."
"Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of single-use waste, and we want to do our part as a leader in the quick-service restaurant industry to provide more sustainable options," said Liliana Esposito, Wendy's chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer.
While LyondellBasell was front and center in announcing the switch to all-plastic cups, Berry indicated the processor will use multiple suppliers to provide recycled resin needed to produce Wendy's cups.