Many Northeasterners have a habit of using two cups on their iced drinks. But one of those cups is finally being discontinued.

By Mike Pomranz
November 18, 2019

Doing what's best for the environment requires sacrifices—whether it's cutting back on single-use plastic water bottles or double-checking dates to keep food from spoiling. Or using two cups to hold your Dunkin' iced coffee when clearly one cup would suffice. As part of its plan to discontinue Styrofoam cups by next year, the donut chain is now actively advertising that customers who appreciate the added convenience of putting their plastic cups into Styrofoam cups are going to have to get use to giving up the habit.

As wasteful as it may be, the idea of putting a thin plastic cup filled with in ice cold drink into an insulated Styrofoam cup is inherently logical. "I always double-cup," a customer in Rhode Island—where double-cupping allegedly may have started—told the Boston Globe. "It's winter, so I don't have to hold an ice-cold cup. And in summer, it keeps it colder." Additionally, during hot weather, double-cupping prevents condensation from dripping down the side.

Boston Globe/Getty Images

But since Dunkin' is phasing out Styrofoam cups regardless, people are going to have to drop the habit whether they want to or not. So Dunkin' has decided to do a bit of hand-holding to help them along. The humorous ten-day ad campaign focused on the Northeast features billboards with phrases like "Consciously un-cup-ling" and "Iced. Delicious. And single." "Walking carefully with them through that journey is really important," Scott Murphy, Dunkin' chief operating officer, was quoted as saying. "Not all change is bad, and we'll get through it."

Many Dunkin' locations have already ditched Styrofoam, but December 1 is the end of the line for the Northeast—which is both Dunkin's original home territory and a double-cupping stronghold. Replacing the Styrofoam cups are double-walled paper cups—constructed of paperboard certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard—which the chain says offers similar heat-retention to the old Styrofoam cups. However, they cannot fit a plastic iced coffee cup inside them.

"We will naturally have to stop double cupping since the double-walled paper cups do not fit over the iced beverage containers," a Dunkin' spokeswoman told Boston.com. "Additionally, as we double down in our commitment to the environment and people, we saw this was a preventable factor that was contributing to waste."

The donut chain also said that choosing to do all this now is not a coincidence: Colder weather is when people tend to switch from iced drinks to hot drinks, so for many, the change won't necessarily have a immediate impact. Still, if you must have insolation, some Dunkin' locations are also giving away or selling reusable koozies. And what kind of Northeasterner doesn't appreciate a good koozie?

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