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Ceres Praises National Launch of ‘Eco-friendly’ Paper Coffee Cup

The launch of a revolutionary all-natural paper coffee cup—made from fully renewable resources—has been applauded by Ceres, a national coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to tackle environmental challenges. The new cup is being introduced nationally by a partnership of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. of Waterbury, Vt., and Foodservice Business, International Paper, of Memphis, Tenn.
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Jul 26, 2006

BOSTON -- The launch of a revolutionary all-natural paper coffee cup—made from fully renewable resources—has been applauded by Ceres, a national coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to tackle environmental challenges. The new cup is being introduced nationally by a partnership of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. of Waterbury, Vt., and Foodservice Business, International Paper, of Memphis, Tenn.

Conventional paper hot cups use a petroleum-based plastic inner to prevent leakage. In contrast, the cup unveiled in consumer outlets across the country this month is lined with a bio-plastic made from a renewable resource—corn. After use, and under the proper conditions, the cup will break down into water, carbon dioxide and organic matter.

“The introduction of this cup is a step in the right direction for a company whose packaging represents one of its main environmental impacts,” said Beth Ginsberg, manager of corporate accountability programs at Ceres. Ceres convened a group of key stakeholders, including environmental, investor and food safety groups, to provide Green Mountain Coffee and International Paper with feedback on the new cup. Overwhelmingly, the Ceres-led group was excited by the opportunity this product presents for changing disposal practices, as well as potential supply chain improvements.

Last year, Americans used and discarded 14.4 billion paper coffee cups. Placed end-to-end, they would circle the planet 55 times. Not only does that represent a significant amount of petroleum-based plastic being placed in the waste stream, but the petroleum used in those cups could be diverted to heat 8,300 homes.

Green Mountain is making the cup its standard wherever retail customers buy their “to-go” cups from the company, which was recently ranked No. 1 on Business Ethics magazine’s list of “100 Best Corporate Citizens.” The cup’s innovative lining, modified polylactic acid, is a biopolymer derived from lactic acid produced by the fermentation of corn sugars. The corn used to create this cup is being offset by NatureWorks, LLC. By choosing to use the corn-based liner, GMCR will prevent the consumption of nearly a quarter of a million pounds of non-renewable petrochemical plastics every year.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is among more than 65 companies in the Ceres company network, including nearly a dozen Fortune 500 companies. Companies that join Ceres must commit to engage with shareholders and other stakeholders on sustainability issues, to report publicly on sustainability performance and to make additional sustainability improvements.

Related Ceres company: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

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