Beyond Styrofoam: In Search of a Better Beverage Cup

A 10-year-old California girl, Mia Hansen, asked Jamba Juice to stop using Styrofoam after she received a smoothie in a Styrofoam cup. She recruited 134,411 petition signers on change.org and the company complied.

styrofoam cupCompany spokesperson Janice Duis says that Jamba Juice had already been working toward eliminating Styrofoam, though Hansen’s petition hastened the process—they’ll now be Styrofoam-free in 2013

“The public hates Styrofoam,” says Miriam Gordon, state director of Clear Water Action in California. She adds that foam products are lightweight and tend to blow out of landfills, landing in rivers and washing into coastal waters.

A lot of Styrofoam is used for disposable coffee cups—some 58 billion of which are thrown away every year. McDonald’s is testing alternative cups in about 2,000 restaurants in California, filling in with “interim” cups in cities where Styrofoam is banned. There are 65 jurisdictions banning Styrofoam in California

A Dunkin’ Donuts spokesperson says the company is looking for an alternative to its expanded polystyrene foam cups while preparing to test an in-store foam cup recycling program. She said the company has reduced the amount of materials sent to landfills by 4.6 million pounds annually. Starbucks’ disposable cups contain 10% post-consumer recycled fiber. The company has never used expanded polystyrene coffee cups. Currently Starbucks is working on effective recycling efforts

Blue Bottle Coffee, with shops in Oakland, San Francisco, Brooklyn and Manhattan, uses PLA cups that are compostable and “paper lined with a plastic-like film from corn,” according to James Freeman, CEO and founder. The cups and lids are fully compostable in jurisdictions where the shops are located.