It is no secret that we love our coffee. Some more than others. What many do not realize however is the hazardous material they drink their coffee in. Nearly any coffee shop you will encounter uses styrofoam cups. Not only is styrofoam difficult to recycle and biodegrades slowly, it also creates a large amount of air pollution in manufacturing. Dunkin’ Donuts is no exception. With the hundreds of students passing by UIC’s Dunkin’ Donuts for their daily coffee, the need to drink coffee continues to increase, as does styrofoam pollution.
Our first course of action is to get rid of these styrofoam cups completely. This would be done soon as possible in the upcoming months upon approval and discussion and throughout the year, as Dunkin’ Donuts is open. We will replace these cups with alternative, greener options. We can potentially offer a discount for customers who bring in their own cups. Although Dunkin’ Donuts is an American company and simply located at UIC, we can work together to make this shop eco-friendly on our campus and save money while doing so. Here are a few of our options:
- Encourage the use of reusable coffee cups/travel mugs-not only do we avoid throwing away more cups/containers, we are saving money in the process of reusing
- Recycled plastic or plastic foam cups-easier disposable and recyclable
- Biodegradable cups- interior cardboard material to keep inside hot, (some) cheaper than styrofoam cups, less toxics
There are countless number of companies that create eco-friendly cups and containers including: Ecotainer (made from renewable resources) and InCycle Cups (made of recycled bottles). Starbucks is also known for believing in recyclable and reusable cups and gives discounts to people who bring their own cups. The matter is to not only implement environmental friendly options, but to also encourage people and show them that they are making a difference with styrofoam replacements.
By substituting the styrofoam cup in our local Dunkin’ Donuts, we will able to decrease the amount of styrofoam in landfills and on campus. In time, we hope more stores will follow this example to keep and preserve our environment. We hope to save money over time with buying and using eco-friendly cups. Our preliminary budget would be $20,000-$30,000 for the use of recyclable and reusable cups. Our goal is for more students that often go to Dunkin’ Donuts to bring their own tumblers and cups and the need for coffee cups at Dunkin’ Donuts decreases. By doing so, UIC will take another step closer as an eco-friendly campus.