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Forum Post: Action Alert - Duncan Donuts and Styrofoam Cups

Posted 1 year ago on Aug. 29, 2012, 1:51 p.m. EST by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Dunkin Donuts: Stop using styrofoam cups and switch to a more eco-friendly solution.

Dunkin Donuts' website cites that American consumption of coffee alone is 488 million cups per year!!! While it takes 100 cups to equal 1 pound, that still works out to 4,880,000 pounds of trash -- trash that is mostly styrofoam! The worst part is that is this only references consumption in the United States. Worldwide, the amount of waste generated is astronomical.

On the Dunkin' Donuts brands website, they state their claim of responsibility to the planet: 
"We recognize that everything we do has an impact on the environment. From the materials we use, to the way we construct and operate our stores, we are committed to adopting better, more sustainable approaches whenever possible."



According to statements made by Dunkin Donuts last September (9/16/2011), Dunkin Donuts would be replacing styrofoam but has not created a timetable. (See the article here: http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/boston/12005390958554/dunkin-donuts-says-goodbye-to-styrofoam-cups/) It is time for them to get styrofoam out of their stores for good.

Discarded polystyrene does not biodegrade for hundreds of years and is resistant to photolysis.[18] Because of this stability, very little of the waste discarded in today's modern, highly engineered landfills biodegrades. Because degradation of materials creates potentially harmful liquid and gaseous by-products that could contaminate groundwater and air, today's landfills are designed to minimize contact with air and water required for degradation, thereby practically eliminating the degradation of waste.[19]

Polystyrene foam is a major component of plastic debris in the ocean, where it becomes toxic to marine life. Foamed polystyrene blows in the wind and floats on water, and is abundant in the outdoor environment. It can be lethal to any bird or sea creature that swallows significant quantities. [20]

Polystyrene foams are produced using blowing agents that form bubbles and expand the foam. In expanded polystyrene, these are usually hydrocarbons such as pentane, which may pose a flammability hazard in manufacturing or storage of newly manufactured material, but have relatively mild environmental impact. However, extruded polystyrene are usually made with hydrofluorocarbons (HFC-134a),[21] which have global warming potentials of approximately 1000–1300 times that of carbon dioxide.[22]

from Wiki

Dunkin Donuts: Stop using styrofoam cups and switch to a more eco-friendly solution.

In addition to harmful environmental effects, there are documented adverse effects to workers in production:

The biggest environmental health concern associated with polystyrene is the danger associated with Styrene, the basic building block of polystyrene. Styrene is used extensively in the manufacture of plastics, rubber, and resins. About 90,000 workers, including those who make boats, tubs and showers, are potentially exposed to styrene. Acute health effects are generally irritation of the skin, eyes, and upper respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal effects. Chronic exposure affects the central nervous system showing symptoms such as depression, headache, fatigue, and weakness, and can cause minor effects on kidney function and blood. Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). A voluntary compliance program has been adopted by industries using styrene. The US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration unsuccessfully (a federal court overturned the ruling in 1992) tried to limit the amount of worker exposure to styrene to 50 parts per million (ppm). According to the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), they still encourage their member companies to comply with the 50 ppm exposure limit. This program would reduce styrene exposures to a 50 ppm TWA with a 100 ppm (15 minute) ceiling. -OSHA (US Dept of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration)

From: Earth Resource Foundation: Polystyrene Foam Report

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37 Comments

37 Comments


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[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 1 year ago

funny that none of these companies seem to have heard of this. is the syrofoam industry stifling them? and why does it seem none of the posters on here have heard of this either?

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/02/features/we-grew-this-headline?page=all

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

well we have now.

And leave it to a Vermont boy to come up with it.

That said, I'm not sure I want to use mold as a building insulation . . .

[-] 1 points by gestopomillyy (1695) 1 year ago

maybe not.. but then they dont use styrofoam either do they? i think its fiberglass. but as far as replacing everything else that is styrofoam why not? its actually bio degradable!

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

Yup, they do use extruded polystyrene as insulation. You can google xps and find lots of links - or as they say, consumer opportunities . . .

But yeah - I generally think it sounds great. Five days from start to finish, compared with years to produce a tree, or eons and geologic processes to make a barrel of crude . . .

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

It was kind of funny - my last job - the company shipped world wide - they had gone international - anyway they could not ship packaging containing Styrofoam peanuts to Germany. But we received packages from Germany filled with them.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

that is weird.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

One way environmental regulation. Send em out don't let em in.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Nope that mold insulation would have the house shutdown by the environmental hazard or public health people perhaps the CDC.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (17898) 1 year ago

Action ?! STOP going to Dunkin Effin Donuts !!

It's good for the wallet ; the waistline & The World !!!

ad iudicium ...

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

naturally I agree - I don't care for their coffee in the least, but apparently there are any number of people who do, and they are global.

If we can change their behavior with nothing more than a petition campaign, then imagine what else we might accomplish?

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 1 year ago

I swear they put something in it, it is like crack. I am essentially addicted to it and non DD coffee just doesn't cut it anymore. Even Starbucks, which is stronger and better, doesn't seem to give me the same fix. I usually get the iced though so no styrofoam for me.

A few years back a local coffee shop switched from styrofoam to paper and there was a big push back from the customers because the paper cups were too hot compared to the styrofoam which is apparently a better insulator. I can only imagine DD would have the same reaction from its customers and that is probably what is delaying the switch. I believe their small coffees are already in paper cups, just not the medium and large.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

Bah . . .

That's what cream is for . . ..

They also make little cardboard holders, they are just a narrow, flat strip of cardboard with slits at either end, when brought together to form a ring with the strip, the slits will lock together. I rarely use one.

And I never drink DD coffee - and rarely Starbucks. I like local shops.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 1 year ago

I do too, there isn't one anywhere near my office though.

And I like my coffee as black and thick as possible, which apparently at DD is hard to comprehend because at least once a week I have to send it back because it is half cream. I would love a good local coffee shop, even if it costs a few bucks more.

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 1 year ago

I hate swimming in Styrofoam - it gets in your hair and makes it hard to comb... sticks between your toes and plugs up your nose...

Hydrocarbon polystyrene...

Styrofoam... floating in the bay, Styrofoam... won't go away. Styrofoam... soon the ocean will be called the, Plastic Zone.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

Generally I don't care for it either. Especially not between my toes, and definitely not up the dolphin's nose . . .

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Ex-cellent. Action we can all take part in. Every bit helps! Proudly Signed.

[-] 0 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

thanks man

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Don't let the bastards drag you down!

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

bah!

. . . never . . .

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Signed. tweeted.

What I put on the note:

We are polluting the environment and it needs to stop. What ever happened to recycled paper products to replace environmentally hazardous containers?

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

If you follow here and scroll to the bottom you will see some facts and figures on just that topic.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Thx.

From your link:

Why Use Alternatives?

Post-consumer recycled paper, bamboo, corn plastics, etc. are easily renewable resources.

All of these products biodegrade when composted.

Paper products can be recycled at most people's doorstep where community recycling is in place.

  • In 1995, 40% of all US paper was recycled, including 32.6 million tons of paper & paperboard. (EPA)

  • Every ton of 100% Post-consumer waste recycled paper products you buy saves:

12 trees

1,087 pounds of solid waste

1,560 kilowatts of energy (2 months of electric power required by the average US home)

1,196 gallons of water

1,976 lbs. of greenhouse gases (1,600 miles traveled in the average US car)

3 cubic yards of landfill space

9 pounds of HAPs, VOCs, and AOXs combined

390 gallons of oil

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

That's the one.

Impressive figures, aren't they?

The one that really gets me is the one from Wiki:

  • However, extruded polystyrene are usually made with hydrofluorocarbons (HFC-134a),[21] which have global warming potentials of approximately 1000–1300 times that of carbon dioxide.[22]

I'm not sure of the process, but I don't think extruded polystyrene is the method for cup production - although it will make an interesting google . . .

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I think there is another fact that should be noted - I will have to look for a confirming link - But :

Burning plastics can release Dioxin among other things into the atmosphere.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

yeah - burning plastic is a no.no

It looks like extruded polystyrene is mostly - though not exclusively - used as building insulation.

And here is a rather interesting bit of information:

What is the Alliance To Save Energy?

And I haven't looked at teh xpsa site.

What I find so interesting is that it appears as if the legitimate goal of reducing energy consumption has been tied to a practice - the use of xps - the production of which has a significant and adverse effect on Global Warming; and since it is a plastic, is tied to the petro-chemical industry.

Simply fascinating.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yes - just because there is an "energy saving alternative" - It does not mean that it should be done because it creates it's own environmental problem.

We need to push for real clean savings not push other problems to be added to existing issues.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

I don't know how much hydrofluorocarbons compared with carbon we produce, but with a heat trapping index over 1000 times more efficient than carbon it seems like a no brainer to eliminate it -

provided of course that we don't offset its elimination with an equivalent production of carbon

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

That's another term that needs to be corrected. We create CO - one step shy of CO2 which in proper amounts is healthy for life - CO is not healthy - at ALL - and acts in many respects ( all Bad ) the same as CO2.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

done

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Hey ZenDog, you needn't have edited your comment. I was just making an observation that CO2 is often referred to and that would be wrong. I mean by people speaking on videos on the news on political debates etc. I was not trying to mess with your comment.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

I thought that was your intent - but since I was guilty of the error I corrected my comment - it seemed only reasonable.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

You're a good man ZD.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

yeah-ya

nobody can figure out just what it is I'm good for, I know I know . . . .

. . . .that damn nobody . . . .

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

LOL

[-] 0 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

This post is nothing but waste contaminating our forum. We need on topic posts directed at the core of the political and economic inequality problems we are trying to expose and overturn.

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20556) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

and you do not have two seconds to consider the impact of one international conglomerate or methodologies that might prove successful in changing their behavior nor consider what impact this might have in consideration of other industries with perhaps worse practices.

Fine with me.

Remain utterly ignorant and totally helpless. I don't care. I just do my part and leave the rest

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

That was a quick attack! This is a great post. You are just full of anger and hostility?

Focus on your own positive posts. Don't be jealous of others good efforts.