McDonald’s has taken quite a few steps to clean up its act lately, and its current move involves improvements in packaging, not food. In response to a 2011 company shareholder resolution, the fast food supergiant will be phasing out polystyrene foam cups, if testing goes well.
The fast food chain is testing out a double-walled fiber hot cup in 2000 stores in the western part of the United States, representing roughly 15% of the company’s stores across the country.
Polystyrene is a highly controversial packaging product because according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, styrene, which is used to make polystyrene, is quite possibly a carcinogen to humans. Aside from that, styrofoam never biodegrades, only breaking down into smaller pieces over hundreds of years. Not ideal!
This pilot program by McDonald’s will assess “customer acceptance, operational impact, and overall importance” of the paper cups.
While I’m not going to bash them for making a change like this, why does it have to be a test trial? Why does customer acceptance matter when it’s clearly an environmentally responsible and healthier move to make? If the company put out a press release explaining the reasoning behind the cups and made sure they stick with the necessary warnings (Caution: Your coffee is hot, duh), I bet nobody would think twice about it. Hopefully this “test” program will work in the new cup’s favor.