Together with our franchisees, we continuously assess our packaging – from our Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups, bagel bags, donut boxes and napkins, to our Baskin-Robbins pink spoons, cone wrappers, yogurt cups and more – and look for opportunities for continuous improvement.
Over the past few years, we have reduced the amount of waste generated by the items our guests use the most. For example, the napkins in our U.S. Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants are made with 100% recycled content and are recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. Our Baskin-Robbins paper bags are also recyclable, biodegradable and compostable, as are our waffle cone paper wrappers. In 2014, we transitioned our U.S. Dunkin’ Donuts bagel bags to 100% recycled paper and our Baskin-Robbins pink spoon to a recyclable spoon made of #5 polypropylene plastic.
In 2014 we set a goal to identify an alternative to our Dunkin’ Donuts foam cup and stated we intended to have a plan in place by the end of 2015 to gradually transition from foam in the future. Based on our efforts to date, we believe that an expanded recyclable polypropylene (#5 plastic) cup is currently the best available alternative to foam, and we are using this cup in restaurants located in municipalities that have imposed a foam ban. This cup is the result of a number of years of research by Dunkin’ Donuts to find a cup that would keep beverages hot, hands cool and be accepted in many municipal recycling programs.
However, this #5 polypropylene cup does not fully satisfy all our criteria for performance, environmental impact and cost. Customer feedback has indicated that many are not satisfied with the lid on the new cup. In addition, this lid is made from High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), which is not accepted in many municipal recycling programs and is also banned by many communities. Lastly, the cup and lid combination is significantly more expensive than our current polystyrene cup and lid set.
As such, while we remain committed to finding a long-term recyclable alternative to the foam cup, we are not prepared to transition fully out of foam at this time. We think this decision makes sense for both our customers and our franchisees. We will continue to test all available cups and lids until we have found the best solution based on performance, environmental impacts and cost.