Tag Archive for recycle

Why doesn’t Dunkin Donuts use recycled paper coffee cups?

From the Dunkin Donuts Web Site:
Why doesn’t Dunkin’ Donuts use recycled paper coffee cups?
Dunkin’ Donuts is committed to selling fresh brewed coffee in containers that are safe for the consumer. Our foam cup is one of the strongest in the industry and it insulates better than paper cups we have tested. By using foam, we are reducing the added waste that occurs with double cupping, cup sleeves and/or extra napkins. In addition, foam cups are recyclable, paper cups are not, and we encourage you to check with your local/municipal-recycling program as to whether or not they will accept #6 plastic.

ARGH…Misinformation is such a nightmare.

I recently presented at my Alma Mater for a group of sustainability students and they asked what they could do on campus to make a difference in the solid waste generation on campus. I suggested that they try to get styrofoam cups removed from all food service, starting with Dunkin Donuts.

Well, I thought that I should look this up first…and the above misinformation is what Dunkin Donuts is espousing…

First, while it is true that paper cups cannot be recycled after they have been used, it is equally true that styrofoam cups cannot be recycled after they are used either. More importantly, very few programs exist to take styrofoam in any event.

Why? Well to answer the Dunkin Donuts people who are encouraging your community to subsidize their use of styrofoam by paying for a recycling program to take their product, which it can’t do in any event…the answer is…

It is not economical in any way to recycle styrofoam. Even if collected, it is so light that we would waste more energy moving this material than we could save.

Dunkin Donuts Styrofoam Cups

The Dunkin Donuts website is simply asking you and I to support corporate welfare by putting these programs in place.

I have a better idea…look at some of your more environmentally conscious competitors and learn.

As for us, why not forward this blog to 10 friends and start a petition to get DD to change?

Any takers?


Zero Waste…Two views

We read a good deal about zero waste initiatives. Two different articles show how confusing this can be. Some generators divert as much waste as possible to resource recovery plants, thus avoiding landfills. Others are moving to technologies that recover more materials through more aggressive source separation and recycling; then using anerobic digesters to make gas for fuel.

Some combination of the methods makes sense. There are simply some materials that cannot be source separated easily. However, it does make sense to capture all that we can for recovery, recycling and energy generation before relying on the arcane technology of the landfill.

Zero Waste Landfill

When reading the two articles, note the difference in those companies that are changing the nature of the materials that they use…Ah, thinking about what will leave before you use it…Now there’s a solution.

Read the full articles:


Selling Bottled Water that’s Better for the Planet

To me, the title is a contradiction in terms. By its very nature, bottled water consumes more resources to produce, requires a large carbon footprint and in the end, not matter how the container is designed, creates a waste stream.

I give the owner credit for attempting to make a container that has a smaller environmental impact than some containers, and for making a container that is made from largely renewable resources…but this is just one more unnecessary product being placed in the general market.

I am also not convinced that the container is as recyclable as advertised…not every community can recycle aseptic style packaging so to say that it is recyclable is a bit of a reach.

recycle bottled water

Essentially, notwithstanding their good marketing, the company is making a container (they don’t make the product) that is just a little less bad for the planet, not better for it.

Read the full article:
Selling Bottled Water That’s Better for the Planet
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.


San Francisco Recycling works…but we still get the words wrong.

First, let me say that San Francisco is a model of recycling that shows what people can do when they work together. It also shows that properly separated recyclables can be moved to market and that the entire process can be done cost effectively.

San Francisco requires residents to sort recyclables, compostables and garbage….three sorts in three cans. This type of sorting can and does work.

recyclablesOn these points the Times article gets it right. HOWEVER, I am still dismayed at the incorrect use of language, especially in the Science Times, when it comes to recycling. Words like Garbage Trucks, “recyclable garbage” and debris permeate the article. UGH….

Recyclable materials are NOT GARBAGE or DEBRIS….they are commodities. Until we get the language correct, we will not succeed in educating anyone about how to handle these materials.

Come on New York Times, you should know better.

Read the full article:
San Francisco, ‘the Silicon Valley of Recycling’
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.