McDonald's Ditching Styrofoam Cups for Paper

The fast-food chain is making the switch in all their 14,000 restaurants in America

Flickr/MIKI Yoshihito
McDonald's will start serving hot drinks in paper cups nationwide.

McDonald's is joining the ranks of the eco-friendly, as the corporate company has announced that all their American restaurants will start serving hot beverages in paper cups instead of polystyrene (or Styrofoam) cups.

Plastic News reports that the non-recyclable cups will be eliminated, after tests of double-walled paper cups went well. Styrofoam is commonly used in food containers, although Bloomberg wanted to ban Styrofoam containers in New York City, and it's already highly regulated in some areas of California.

McDonald's discontinued the use of Styrofoam in its burger packaging back in 1990; As You Sow, the nonprofit that pushed for this change, called the announcement a "great start… We hope they will also incorporate recycled fiber in the cups and develop on-site systems to collect and recycle food service packaging." McDonald's will still be using plastic cups for some of their cold drinks, as "at this point we have only identified fiber as an alternative material for the hot coffee cup. We're continuing to seek and test alternatives for our large cold cups," a representative told Plastic News.

This switch, however, should help increase recyclability, the rep says, although as previously noted, some paper cups (notably the ones tested at Dunkin' Donuts) are plastic-lined, and not necessarily recycled.

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