Dunkin’ achieves major sustainability milestone, completes global transition to paper cups

USA – Massachusetts-based global coffee and baked goods chain Dunkin’, has announced that 100% of its restaurants globally have transitioned from polystyrene foam cups to paper cups, meeting the brand’s sustainability target established two years ago.

Dunkin’ said that in its U.S. restaurants, the foam cups have been replaced by double-walled paper cups adding that it is also on track to fully transition to new, recyclable hot coffee cup lids in all of its U.S. restaurants by the end of the summer.

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The new, double-walled paper cups, made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Standard, are currently used to serve all Dunkin’ hot beverages, including coffee, espresso drinks, tea, and hot chocolate in the US.

To meet guests’ expectations and preferences, the brand explained that the cups maintain heat retention properties comparable to the prior foam cups, keeping beverages hot while keeping hands cool, without the need for a sleeve.

According to the restaurant chain, the transition to paper cups will remove approximately one billion foam cups from the waste stream annually. 

While a limited number of Dunkin’ restaurants may still have foam cups in their inventory, the company said that it distribution centers are no longer offering foam cups, making only the new, double-walled paper cups available to Dunkin’ US franchisees for use in their restaurants.

As the company progresses towards transitioning into fully recyclable hot coffee cup lids in its US restaurants, Dunkin’ said that the transition, along with the move to the double-walled paper cups, will remove a collective 19 million pounds of polystyrene from the waste stream annually.

New goal on DD Green Achievement

The brand has further committed to doubling its number of DD Green Achievement restaurants to 1,000 by the end of 2025.

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Dunkin’ launched its DD Green Achievement program in 2014 to help its franchisees build more sustainable and energy-efficient restaurants.

In 2016, the brand announced a goal of opening 500 DD Green Achievement restaurants by the end of 2020. Dunkin’ has announced that it has met that milestone, and is setting a new goal of opening its 1,000thDD Green Achievement restaurant by the end of 2025.

According to the company, DD Green Achievement restaurants are built with sustainable and efficient elements including LED lighting, high-efficiency mechanical equipment, low-flow faucets, and more sustainable features.

Dunkin’ says that the restaurants, which were designed to save between 15 to 20% of energy use as compared to traditional restaurants, have proven to save approximately 33% of energy use, on average, when compared to conventional Dunkin’ locations, outperforming design anticipations.

“Even in challenging times like these, sustainability remains a key priority for Dunkin’. We are proud of our accomplishments, but recognize that making a meaningful difference requires commitment and continuous improvement,” said Scott Murphy, President, Dunkin’ Americas.

“We will build on our momentum and do our part to take care of the world around us because it matters to us, our franchisees, our guests, and our communities.”

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