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The Financial Times reports on how "McDonald’s and Starbucks are pouring millions of dollars into developing eco-friendly alternatives to disposable coffee cups while struggling to find products that can be mass produced, as a global crackdown on plastic gathers pace."

Not that anyone should worry about these companies' bottom lines suffering: "The sums spent are a tiny fraction of the profits of $5.9 billion and $4.5 billion that McDonald’s and Starbucks reported respectively last year. Both companies said they have made additional investments in eco-friendly packaging from their research and development budgets, but declined to give a specific amounts."

However, one of the things that is really interesting is how the two companies are spending the money:
"Six sustainable packaging businesses pitched their products before the two chains as well as venture investors at an event last month in New York, held during the UN general assembly meetings where the environment was high on the agenda.

"Styled after the popular television show Shark Tank, which involves entrepreneurs pitching their products to investors, the event was part of a broader project that McDonald’s and Starbucks have contributed $15m to in partnership with Closed Loop Partners, which pursues sustainable investments."

The pressure to find sustainable alternatives to common problems is coming from governments looking to impose regulations, venture capitalists who think there is money to be made in the sector, and consumers who are becoming far more concerned about environmental issues.
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