Dunkin’ is trying to ditch its styrofoam cups. But there’s resistance.
Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc has spent 10 years experimenting with alternatives to the styro cup, including discussing the prototypes at MIT’s “cup summits” and creating a biodegradable concept cup made of mushrooms, before it found a replacement (ref WSJ). But, the company didn’t foresee how long some customers would hang onto the old styro cups – one customer reuses the cups for up to 8 months and says, “It’s not like I don’t care for the environment. I save them until they are very broken and I have gone so far as duct-taping them.” Another customer has been hoarding the cups for 2 years and has amassed a collection of 124. He says, “It may have just become a habit knowing that one day they will phase them out. So, when they are gone, I will have a bunch to use for when I get another medium iced coffee.” And other customers ask for an additional cup when they buy a coffee – a practice that the company is trying hard to discourage. Dunkin’ is making the switch to the new cups this month in New England and will introduce them in New York and California in the spring. The new choice is a double-walled paper cup lined in plastic. It’s always good to please a company’s customers when at all possible – it will be interesting to see if those disenfranchised customers choose to switch brands instead of cups. We’ll follow – ALL THE MOVING PARTS: it’s all the parts of a company, working together, that make up a successful whole.