Plastic Pollution

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Fast Food Giants Finally Address Plastic Pollution

In a win for the health of the world's oceans, McDonald's says it will end the use of harm­ful polystyrene foam packaging globally by year's end. Rarely recycled, the material used in beverage cups and takeout containers is a frequent compo­nent of beach litter, degrading into indi­gestible pellets that marine animals mis­take for food, resu !ting in injury or death. The company says, "The environmental impact of our packaging is a top priority." The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that styrene, used in the production of polysty­rene, is also a possible human carcinogen. 

Dunkin' Donuts is also phasing out its polystyrene foam cups in favor of paper cups. A planned worldwide project completion by 2020 will prevent nearly 1 billion foam cups from entering the waste stream each year. Customers may still opt for the restau­rant's mugs or bring their own thermos. The foam cups will be replaced with double­walled paper cups made with paperboard certified to Sustain­able Forestry Initiative standards.