Just a posting about one of those things that drives me absolutely batty...
I love Dunkin' Donuts iced coffee -- it's one of my favorite treats any time the temperature surpasses about 65 degrees.
But I am mystified by the people who feel compelled to order it ensconced in an extra styrofoam cup. They explain that it prevents their hands from getting wet from the plastic cup's condensation ... or that it keeps the iced coffee cold longer.
Is there any other example in fast food-dom of ordering something with such extraneous packaging? Have you ever seen someone eating fries out of two paper fry pouches, asking for their KFC in an extra bucket, or requesting that their Papa Ginos pizza be double-boxed, for double grease-stain protection?
I've also never seen a recycling bin in a Dunkin' Donuts. So I called the PR folks at the Canton-based franchising company Dunkin' Brands last month to investigate.
The owners of Dunkin' Donuts franchises can make their own policy about double-cupping. Some charge 15 cents or a quarter for the extra cup, and some give it away for free. (The iced coffee I bought last week at a Beacon Hill Dunkin' in order to take the picture above came with a complimentary styrofoam cup.) But Dunkin' as a franchise doesn't really offer its franchisees a standard recycling bin they can use in their stores. (Though the chain is testing recycling bins with one store in St. Petersburg, Florida.)
Some franchisees, like Tim Cloe, have decided to institute their own recycling programs, with bins in the customer area and also behind the counter. (Cloe even experimented for a while with having his stores' used coffee grounds picked up by a company that was turning the grounds into biofuel.) The recycling program costs him money to run, "but I feel it's worthwhile," says Cloe, who lives in Dartmouth and co-owns 20 stores in southeastern Massachusetts. "I'm a local guy who lives in town." His stores also push reusable "commuter" mugs, selling them below cost and offering a discount on refills. And when they sell those extra sytrofoam cups for iced coffee, they charge 15 cents -- and then donate that money to local environmental causes.
I'm far from perfect when it comes to disposable packaging. While I have carried a commuter mug sporadically in the past, I don't do it habitually. But I think my track record is a decent 80 or 90 percent in terms of getting the disposable packaging I do purchase into a recycling bin, usually at home.
So here's what I'd like to know:
- Are you a double-cupper, and if so, how often (if ever) do you recycle the cups?
- Do you carry around your own "commuter" coffee mug? What kind of discounts do you get? If you don't carry one, have you tried it and decided you didn't like it?
- Should Dunkin' design a better cup (rather than two cups) to keep its iced coffee cold?
- Should Dunkin', and other fast food joints, offer recycling bins in their stores, even if it costs them more? Should it be mandatory, or voluntary? Have you ever seen a recycling bin in a Dunkin' outlet?
Do post a comment...
about the blogger
About Scott Kirsner Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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