With proposals in place to ban polystyrene in California, McDonald’s has begun testing paper coffee cups at a number of its West Coast locations. McDonald’s currently uses polystyrene coffee cups for its light weight and excellent ability to insulate. However, the foam material is well-known for its negative impact on the environment, as it is a nonrenewable material that is difficult to recycle.
Paper alternatives are made from renewable resources, and offer a more environmentally-friendly option for McDonald’s cups. Yet despite the material’s sustainability, it’s also more expensive and heavier than the polystyrene. This explains why McDonald’s, as well as other restaurant chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Sonic, has not yet switched over to more sustainable paper cups.
McDonald’s is testing double-walled paper cups at 2,000 of its stores. The fast food giant has been searching for effective polystyrene alternatives for decades. In 1990, it phased out foam clamshells, and uses recycled packaging materials for its napkins, carryout bags and more.
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