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Dunkin partners with Wincup to test biodegradable straw as more companies go green

Brooke DiPalma
·Associate Producer

Dunkin' Donuts is testing the use of a new biodegradable straw, joining the growing number of companies seeking to leverage sustainable business practices to address concerns about the environment.

According to WWF, the world's oceans contain nearly 300 million tons of plastic litter right now, with another eight million expected to be added this year alone. It's helped amplify calls for environmentally-sound solutions from consumers, which has boosted the rising use of biodegradable paper products.

Wincup, a manufacturing company behind green-friendly lids, straws and cups, aims to provide the "most economical way to take care of the environment" with its new biodegradable Phade Straw. According to the company's CEO, the innovation caught Dunkin's attention, and the coffee giant will pilot the product at a few hundred of its stores.

"We're super excited about the Dunkin' trial and a few 100 of their stores, it's going very well," Brad Laporte, CEO of Wincup, told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview.

The Phade Straw is also available in Walmart (WMT) under a private label brand, and has even attracted the attention of a couple Disney (DIS)-branded properties in Orlando.

Phade straw is part of WinCup’s PHA product line (Courtesy: WinCup).
Phade straw is part of WinCup’s PHA product line (Courtesy: WinCup).

The Phade straw is made out of PHA, which stands for “Polyhydroxyalkanoate" and is a substrate derived from fermented plant oil. This alternative feels and "performs" like a tradition straw, but is marine biodegradable, home and industrial compostable.

"Plastic straws are typically very difficult to sort and, and recycle because of their shape and size. We went on a quest a few years ago to develop a new straw that has at least no footprint in the environment," Laporte added.

The price of each straw depends on the size and quantity of straw, however, "costs one to one and a half cents for restaurants purchasing a large quantities." They're also available online for customers to order directly.

The product is also available at more than 60 food service distributors that are selling them to restaurants and retail stores across the country.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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