Salem State Students Successful in Urging Dunkin Donuts to Retire Styrofoam Cups in the Name of Sustainability | Salem State University Skip to main content

Salem State Students Successful in Urging Dunkin Donuts to Retire Styrofoam Cups in the Name of Sustainability

Dunkin Donuts located in Meier Hall at Salem State has changed all Styrofoam cups to recycled paper cups. The change came following the Salem State chapter of MASSPIRG’s urging of Dunkin Donuts’ on campus to commit to a sustainability goal outlined on the MASSPIRG website.

MASSPIRG Students, the statewide student-run non-profit, launched the campaign to reduce the use of Styrofoam in communities in the spring of 2017, as part of their Zero Waste program. The student chapter leader, Liz Plume of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, proposed a campaign to ask Dunkin Donuts’ to retire their Styrofoam cups, with multiple college chapters throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut participating in a mass action calling Dunkin Donuts’ customer service line requesting the Styrofoam ban.

Subsequently, students at Salem State took the campaign action and strategy back to campus, where student organizers educated many students about the detrimental health and environmental impacts Styrofoam has compared to other materials. Students waiting in the Dunkin Donuts’ line were also asked to request a more sustainable paper cup.

"We're glad to see our Dunks on campus take action to retire their Styrofoam cup and fulfill their commitment to making sustainable business practices," said Salem State MASSPIRG Chapter Chair, Mikayla Riley, "We hope that this action spurs other franchises to make the same move."

After reaching out to the franchise management and headquarters throughout the semester, students were told that the franchise would look into the request and take action. On Nov. 1, the cups at the Salem State campus location were changed to recycled paper.

“It’s exciting to see Dunkin Donuts respond to student concerns about problems associated with polystyrene foam cups,” noted Tara Gallagher, SSU Sustainability and EH&S Coordinator. “The new cups will be healthier for consumers and the environment and they are also recyclable.”

In conjunction with this campaign, MASSPIRG also works to repower Massachusetts with 100% clean renewable energy, make textbooks cheaper for students, alleviate hunger and homelessness in the community, and is working to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. For more information on the Salem State chapter of MASSPIRG visit their website.


Kimberly Burnett
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