Dunkin Donuts, Styrofoam, and Somerville

In a marketing class a few years ago, we were discussing sustainability and the fact that Dunkin Donuts still had styrofoam cups.  The professor was completely ineffective at actually leading the discussion and allowed me and another girl argue for about 30 minutes.  I wasn’t technically arguing for styrofoam, but I was arguing that Dunkin Donuts doesn’t need to switch to recyclable cups to keep its customers.  She was arguing that they were losing customers to Starbucks because of the cups.  Regardless of the cups, Dunkin Donuts was going to lose a certain number of customers to Starbucks based on tastes, desires and income and they certainly weren’t going to win them back with paper cups.  What they would do with paper cups is lose a huge portion of their business.  Namely, the blue collar workers getting a coffee at 5am on the way to a job site.  Not only was Dunkin Donuts open earlier than Starbucks, they were also equipped with a drive through more often than Starbucks stores.  This was for the early-rising blue collar workers that needed their coffee to stay hot while replacing roof shingles outside in the winter or tiling new condos that don’t have heat, yet.  Lest you think I am just a privileged blogger spouting off about shit I only learn in books (I totally am), members of my family and friends are the aforementioned workers that want a goddamned styrofoam cup.  I think Dunkin Donuts would stand to lose more customers from going the sustainable route.

Well this argument has come up again this year, albeit with myself and some imaginary Dunkin Donuts CEO.  The actual CEO is Nigel Travis – I just looked him up.  And I should probably write to him instead of ranting in my blog.  But then what would I write in my blog?  Who knows.

See, the town that I live in, Somerville, Massachusetts, passed a polysterene ban in 2013.  Any food business in the town is essentially banned from using styrofoam cups, take out containers, you name it.  Polysterene, used in styrofoam, is non-biodegradable and was added to the carcinogen list, but really, what hasn’t??

I understand the environmental benefits and that’s great and all, but Dunkin Donuts new cups are complete, fucking bullshit.

Usually, any Dunk’s coffee I get is in Boston because that’s where I work and it’s on my way.  Their cups look like this.  They don’t leak, they are resealable, and they keep a medium coffee hot for 2 hours and 45 minutes.  I know because I use to make the 3 hours drive to Albany, NY to visit a friend and I knew that I was getting close (this was before smart phones) when my coffee got cold.

The only time I ever get a coffee from a Somerville Dunkin Donuts is when we’re driving out of the city, because the 3 Dunks on the way to the highway (no matter which way you’re going – north, south, or west) are all in Somerville.  Every single time I forget about the non-styrofoam cups until we’re pulling into the drive-thru.  It seems silly to get on the highway, only to get off one town over for coffee, and then get back on again, so I suck it up (although I would totally do that if I was driving alone).

It’s not so much the cups I have a problem with, but the lids.  I do not understand why they had to change the top of the lids.  My big problem is that the lids on the styrofoam-alternative cups are not resealable.  This fucking sucks for the car…which is the ONLY time I’m getting them.  I hereby boycott all Somerville DD’s – not because of the lack of styrofoam (although my drink does get cold faster) – but because of the lack of a resealable lid.  Look at this shit.  It spills all over the fucking car.  Better wear a rain poncho, lest coffee end up all over your holiday dress.  Mother fucker.

I know you can’t see it, but the lid just opens. It DOES NOT close. It does NOT reseal. It’s complete crap.