Dunkin’ Donuts to eliminate foam cups by 2020

By Nick Sobczyk | 02/07/2018 01:20 PM EST

Coffee giant Dunkin’ Donuts will phase foam cups out of its supply chain by 2020, the company announced today.

The coffee chain will start eliminating the polystyrene foam cups — which have become a staple of its restaurants — this spring, beginning with locations in New York City and California.

At U.S. locations, the foam cups will be replaced with a double-walled paper cup. Paper is already in use in many of Dunkin’ Donuts’ international locations, as well as at its "next generation concept store" in Quincy, Mass. Additionally, many locations serve the small size coffee in paper cups as well as all sizes of specialty coffee, using the foam cups only for larger-sized traditional coffee.


The company — a subsidiary of Dunkin Brands Group Inc., which also owns ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins — estimates the transition will remove nearly 1 billion foam cups from the waste stream each year.

"With more than 9,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the U.S. alone, our decision to eliminate foam cups is significant for both our brand and our industry," Karen Raskopf, chief communications and sustainability officer at Dunkin’ Brands, said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to improve our packaging, making it better for the planet while still meeting the needs of our guests."

The new cups are one of a series of sustainability goals Dunkin’ has set in recent years. The company says the new paper cups will keep coffee just as hot as the old foam vessels without the need for a sleeve.

"Transitioning away from foam has been a critical goal for Dunkin’ Donuts U.S., and with the double-walled cup, we will be able to offer a replacement that meets the needs and expectations of both our customers and the communities we serve," Raskopf said.