Dear Dunkin' Donuts...
Updated: Oct 18
I am wondering when you will get back to me. I have been attempting to reach you for 3 months now without any success, so I am putting this letter out there to see if someone has the answers to some particularly important questions. I am trying to find out why you (Dunkin' Donuts) decided to ADD to the almost insurmountable SINGLE-USE PLASTICS problem we face today? A few of months ago, you replaced your reclosable lids with SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STOPPERS. Although Dunkin' Donuts has made recent efforts in sustainability by replacing the polystyrene cups with paper cups in 2018, and by experimenting with a new marine biodegradable straw in 2020, but now in 2021 are creating MORE plastic waste by using a single-use plastic stopper in EVERY CUP!! What is your reason for implementing their use? Are they cost effective? Is Dunkin' Donuts trying to copy Starbucks? (Starbucks has been adding to the single-use plastics problem with their stoppers since 2008). I am not sure why you would take this his huge step backwards in considering the effects your company can on the health of our environment. I thought Dunkin' Donuts CARED about their customers.
My concern is for the future of my third-grade students, my nieces and nephews, and all our children. The single-use plastic crisis is threatening and affecting the health of our world. As a teacher, I have brought attention to how much plastic waste Dunkin' Donuts is creating by using these stoppers. My class and I created a simple math example. I asked my third-graders, "If we have 8 Dunkin' Donuts stores in town and each one serves 100 cups a day, with the single-use plastic stoppers, how many stoppers would that be?" They quickly responded with the answer: 800 single-use plastic stoppers. I then pointed out, that this number is only for ONE DAY, in ONE TOWN! I bet that number is even much higher than that for one day. So, let's think bigger. How many would accumulate globally? I read that in 2017 Dunkin' Donuts served 2 billion cups worldwide! NOW THAT IS A LOT OF STOPPERS AND A LOT OF SINGLE-USE PLASTIC WASTE!
So, in the meantime, what are people doing with these stoppers? Some people might recycle them, reuse them, collect them, or create art with them. But many will absentmindedly throw them out. Some people are tossing them out their windows while driving, or just throwing them onto the ground. When people do this, it initiates the path litter will take. Litter begins on our roadsides, it then plunges into sewers, and finally empties into our oceans. Scientists are saying the amount of plastic in our oceans will outweigh the fish by 2050. At the rate single-use plastics are being used, this may come true way before then!
These single-use plastic stoppers will also be piling up in our landfills. I noticed the word BIODEGRABABLE stamped on them. Can you tell me what makes this plastic biodegradable? I read that polypropylene plastics need an organic additive to allow it to break down or biodegrade AND that it can still takes up to 20 or 30 years! That is a long time and a LOT of stoppers to be hanging around! Single-use plastics have harmful physical and chemical effects on our environment. Plastics do not naturally biodegrade; they only break down into microplastics and are now entering and contaminating our food chain.
I have been trying to get these questions answered, but nobody at Dunkin' Donuts seems to have the answers to my questions. There should be a real concern about these single-use plastic stoppers! Being such a huge corporation, you can make a real difference. Does Dunkin' Donuts want to be part of the solution? Do you educate your customers and employees about the affect litter has on the environment? Do you promote litter awareness? There is Dunkin' Donuts trash almost everywhere you look and the stoppers are already in the streets. Something can and should be done.
Waiting for Some Answers,
It is my hope for the people reading this letter will think twice about allowing the plastic stopper to be put in your coffees. Perhaps you will now save a few and reuse them, or just refuse them! Perhaps you will join in the efforts to be part of the solution. Being aware of how single-use plastics are causing serious and prevalent environmental problems, will hopefully encourage people to take action. There are simple, easy solutions to bring about positive and permanent changes. Reducing the amount of single-use plastics use is a start in the right direction. It is for the children of today who face such huge threats from our plastic world. It is for the health and future of our children that we should join in the effort to bring about necessary change. It is worth the time and effort!
Please see more on my website: litterawareness.org