Wendy’s to Start Including Recycled Plastic in Cups

(Credit: Wendy’s)

Wendy’s will start using recycled plastic in large cups by early 2022 with a goal of having all its drink cups use the material by 2023.

The company is moving from plastic-lined paper cups that have limited recyclability to a single-substrate, clear plastic drink cups that have more recycling potential. The new cups will use 20% certified recycled plastic and will launch in the United States and Canada. Wendy’s says the move is part of a plan to keep 10 million pounds of waste out of landfills over the next two years.

Wendy’s is collaborating with packaging company Berry Global and plastics and chemical company LyondellBasell to develop the cups.

LyondellBasell uses a recycled resin as part of production and Berry is helping make the cup a commercial reality, the companies say. The two are members of the American Chemistry Council and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

The companies also have a long-term supply agreement for International Sustainability and Carbon Certification approved recycled feedstock resins by mass balance. That allows the recycled plastic to be mixed with virgin plastic and processed in the same place, reducing costs and accelerating the transition to using circular raw materials. They say using the ISCC certification also helps provide accountability in the products.

“There are many benefits of plastics, including convenience,” LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel says. “The issue we must address is plastic waste.”

Earlier in 2021 Wendy’s announced plans to make packaging more sustainable and the cups process is part of that goal and the food industry increasingly making moves toward sustainability and to reduce the waste in its packaging in products.

This month McDonald’s said it would move to using wooden utensils and stir sticks and paper straws in its restaurants in Canada by the end of the year. Burger King has also been testing reusable packaging since late 2020.

Wendy’s has a goal to sustainably source all its customer packaging by 2026. The company joined the foodservice industry’s NextGen Consortium in 2019 as part of its plan to tackle plastics waste.

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