A Dunkin’ Donuts coffee might help get you started in the morning and a scoop of Baskin-Robbins ice cream can cool you down on a hot summer’s day – but what’s the environmental impact of all that packaging waste?
Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of both Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, says it’s working to reduce packaging waste from its products, according to the company’s first corporate social responsibility report, which was published last week.
Dunkin’ says its No. 1 sustainability priority is finding an environmentally-friendly alternative to its traditional polystyrene coffee cup, but the company has not yet found an easily recyclable or compostable cup that will keep customers’ hands cool and coffee hot.
While the company continues to search for a more environmentally-responsible coffee cup, Dunkin’ trimmed down the weight of both its foam hot cup and plastic cold cup in 2009, which reduced the amount of cup waste ending up in landfills by 4.6 million pounds annually.
The company plans to test an in-store foam cup recycling program in 2013 and offers a reusable mug program to its franchisees as an option to reduce packaging waste.
Dunkin’ is also testing alternatives to Baskin-Robbins’ pink polystyrene ice cream spoon and believes it is close to finding a material that is recyclable, strong enough to scoop hard ice cream and affordable for its franchisees. If the new material meets the company’s standards, it will roll out to Baskin-Robbins stores in 2013.
Dunkin’ Brands also reports that it switched to 100-percent post-consumer recycled-content paper napkins in 2009, saving an estimated 92,000 trees and 22 million kilowatts of electricity annually.