McDonaldâ€™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 companyâ€™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 McDonaldâ€™s will assess â€œcustomer acceptance, operational impact, and overall importanceâ€ of the paper cups.
While Iâ€™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 itâ€™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 â€œtestâ€ program will work in the new cupâ€™s favor.
Image CC licensed by Amanda Vincent-Rous
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