McDonald's is phasing out polystyrene beverage cups in response to a 2011 shareholder proposal by Overbrook grantee As You Sow. Polyestrene is petroleum-based, carcinogenic and detrimental to marine life, so it is high time McDonald's eliminate its use completely. (To its credit, the chain has already cut back over 300 million pounds of packaging, becoming one of the country's largest purchasers of recycled paper.)The plastic phase-out will begin as a pilot program in selected stores, and if all goes well will be extended to all McDonald's restaurants. Read more about McDonald's commitments, those of its "rival in green-ness" Starbucks, and possible eco-changes on the horizon for Dunkin' Donuts here.
Overbrook grantee the Coalition for Resource Recovery is engaged in similar work, and to date has successfully run pilots in New York City to improve recyclability of packaging and customer compliance at Pret a Manger, Starbucks and others. Read about CoRR's food packaging programs here.