Smoothie chain Jamba Juice announced last month that it plans to phase out its use of polystyrene cups by 2013, a decision that may have been influenced by the efforts of a 10-year-old girl.
When Carlsbad, Calif. fifth-grader Mia Hansen stopped by Jamba Juice for summertime refreshment, she noticed that every smoothie was being delivered to customers in a polystyrene cup. With 752 locations throughout the U.S., Canada, Philippines, South Korea and the Bahamas and sales totaling $263 million in 2010, that’s a whole lot of polystyrene entering the waste cycle every day. So she decided to do something about it.
Hansen went to Change.org and started a petition to end Jamba Juice’s use of polystyrene in all aspects of the business.
“I’m 10 years old and when I was at Jamba Juice a couple of weeks ago, I ordered a smoothie and they gave it to me in a Styrofoam cup! The person behind me ordered yogurt and they gave her yogurt in a Styrofoam container, too,” Hansen wrote on the Change.org petition landing page. “That’s just ridiculous. It bothered me so much, my mom encouraged me to start a petition.”
Nearly 135,000 signatures later, the smoothie chain heeded the call and decided to phase out polystyrene cups by the end of 2013. It’s similar to a transition the company already made in Seattle when polystyrene was banned city-wide.
“Jamba Juice responded to me within three weeks of starting this petition! I spoke with them on the phone and they just sent me a letter that says very clearly that they will not have polystyrene cups in any of their stores by the end of 2013,” Hansen recently wrote in an update to the petition. “Can you believe it??!!!”
Polystyrene, widely known as “Styrofoam,” is not widely recycled largely due to its composition, which includes as much as 98 percent air and makes it costly to ship and store.