MCDONALD'S
Phasing out polystyrene hot beverage containers across the US / Response to pressure by shareholders, advocacy group
Global fast-food giant McDonald’s (Oak Brook, Illinois / USA; www.aboutmcdonalds.com) in mid-September announced its plan to replace all polystyrene cups served across its roughly 14,000 US outlets with paper-based cups. The switch comes on the heels of several successful pilot schemes and has been prompted by pressure from US environmental group As You Sow (Oakland, California; www.asyousow.org), several news media report.

The advocacy group filed a shareholder resolution in 2011, which not only gained 30% of the vote, but also requested the fast-food company find a more environmentally-friendly alternative to polystyrene hot beverage containers. The phase-out is to be carried out over the next few months. Welcoming the move, Conrad MacKerron, As You Sow vice president, said, “We congratulate McDonald’s on its decision to stop using foam beverage cups, which will reduce the threat of plastic pollution to the world’s oceans and provide a more recyclable, valuable alternative in paper fibre.”

The phase-out comes at a time when polystyrene use is increasingly called into question or banned in the US. In California alone, 46 cities and counties have restricted it as a packaging material and earlier this year, New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, called for a ban on PS food containers – see Plasteurope.com of 19.02.2013. The initiative was met with criticism by the American Chemistry Council (ACC, Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com), which commissioned a study showing the cost of implementing such a ban far exceeds the cost of a proper polystyrene recycling plan – for more details, see Plasteurope.com of 05.04.2013.
22.10.2013 Plasteurope.com 894 [226560-0]
Published on 22.10.2013

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