Fast Food Giants Finally Address Plastic Pollution
In a win for the health of the world’s oceans, McDonald’s says it will end the use of harmful polystyrene foam packaging globally by year’s end. Rarely recycled, the material used in beverage cups and takeout containers is a frequent component of beach litter, degrading into indigestible pellets that marine animals mistake for food, resulting in injury or death. The company says, “The environmental impact of our packaging is a top priority.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that styrene, used in the production of polystyrene, is also a possible human carcinogen.
Dunkin’ Donuts is also phasing out its polystyrene foam cups in favor of paper cups. A planned worldwide project completion by 2020 will prevent nearly 1 billion foam cups from entering the waste stream each year. Customers may still opt for the restaurant’s mugs or bring their own thermos. The foam cups will be replaced with double-walled paper cups made with paperboard certified to Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards.
This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.