Dunkin Donuts to get rid of styrofoam cups by 2020

Dunkin' Donuts yesterday announced that it will no longer use its controversial, non-recyclable foam coffee cups, and will instead start using only double-walled paper cups by 2020.

The move, however, would start sooner in California and New York, with a roll out this scheduled for this year. The new paper cups are already being used at a store in the company's birthplace, Quincy in Massachusetts.

According to a statement by the New England-based fast-food company, it plans to make the eco-friendly switch ''to serve both people and the planet responsibly.''

The company's foam cups were earlier the subject of a controversy, as environmental activists targeted the cups for being non-recyclable and containing styrene, a potential carcinogen. The cups have also been even banned by some communities, which has forced the company to come up with alternative ways to serve its signature hot coffee, a goal it named as a top priority back in 2000.

According to commentators, Dunkin' Donuts is the latest in the fast-food industry to adopt more environmentally conscious packing and do away with foam. The reusable cup goals were announced by the company in 2008, while McDonald's last month announced its own no-foam goal with a 2019 global timeline.

The foam material cannot be recycled and its manufacturing process is potentially dangerous. The main ingredient, styrene, has been named a possible human carcinogen.

"Transitioning away from foam has been a critical goal for Dunkin' Donuts US, and with the double-walled cup, we will be able to offer a replacement that meets the needs and expectations of both our customers and the communities we serve," said Karen Raskopf, Dunkin's chief communications and sustainability officer.

Given its extensive global footprint, the company hopes to create a global impact on its brand and the coffee industry in general.

McDonald's said last month that it planned to stop using foam cups by the end of this year while Starbucks uses paper cups.