ThunderCloud Subs will phase out the use of styrofoam cups by the end of the year.
Wednesday’s announcement came after Environment Texas launched a petition calling on the company to do so.
“We appreciate ThunderCloud Subs for taking action to reduce plastic pollution,”Executive Director of Environment Texas Luke Metzger said in a news release. “We need other businesses, and the state of Texas, to follow their lead and phase out the use of plastic products, which are harming wildlife.”
Polystyrene, or styrofoam, is one of the most common types of plastic. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw out 70 million polystyrene foam cups every day, not including bowls and takeout containers.
“Tons of our discarded plastic ends up in the environment, on our lands and in our waterways,” Metzger said in an email. “More than 8 million tons end up in our oceans every year, the equivalent of five plastic bags for every foot of coastline.”
Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, but instead breaks down into tiny pieces called microplastics which are ingested by hundreds of different species, he said, adding scientists have found plastic fragments in hundreds of species, including 86 percent of sea turtle species, nearly half of all seabird and marine mammal species and almost half the sunfish in the Brazos River.
Texas beaches have more plastic trash than any other state, Metzger added.
Environment Texas said it will work to get other Texas businesses to follow the lead of McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts and now ThunderCloud Subs to stop using polystyrene.
Metzger said polystyrene containers are designed to be used once, and that people should not allow a product used for 5 minutes to pollute our environment for centuries.