Dart Container Corporation, founded and headquartered in Mason, Michigan, sets the Industry Standard of Excellence in the development, manufacture and distribution of innovative foodservice packaging solutions. Dart manufactures cups, plates, containers, lids and straws made from such materials as expanded polystyrene foam, solid polystyrene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), paper and sugar cane. From its humble origins as a machine shop in Mason, Dart has expanded across the globe to include more than 40 locations in six countries. Dart has about 15,000 employees worldwide.
Our Mission Statement
Dart sets the Industry Standard of Excellence by safely and efficiently providing high-quality food and beverage packaging solutions and exceptionally reliable service to each and every one of our customers.
- Dart: Business is a human endeavor. The thoughts, skills and efforts of our employees are key to Dart’s success. The company’s future is secured by valuing and encouraging the contributions of each employee.
- Excellence: Excellence arises from a daily dedication to exceeding expectations. Excellence is never static; it demands that each of us seek continual improvement.
- Efficiency: Disciplined control of costs fosters creativity. An efficient company can absorb the occasional stumbles that come with growth and intelligent risk-taking and still succeed. An inefficient business with great products will fail in the end.
- Solutions: Opportunities come when we listen diligently to customer needs, then deliver timely solutions created through the ability, imagination, and determination of our people.
- Reliability: Customers choose Dart products because of their confidence in the dependable high quality of our products and responsiveness of our organization.
- Service: Every Dart employee provides services to internal and external customers who rely upon those services to perform their jobs. In this interdependent environment, success is built upon communication. Consistent communication heads off unwelcome surprises and generates productive ideas.
The Dart story begins in 1937 with the opening of a small machine shop in Mason, Michigan, by William F. (WF) Dart. This modest business, Dart Manufacturing Company, prospered through the manufacture of such products as plastic key cases, steel tape measures, identification tags for the armed services and children’s toys, including a popular marble race game.
WF’s son, William A. (WA), joined his father in the early 1950s. By the late 1950s, WA and his father shifted their focus to developing a machine that would produce high-quality foam cups from a relatively new material called expandable polystyrene (EPS). In 1960, they shipped their first order, and by 1963 they had changed the name of their company to Dart Container Corporation.
Consumers immediately recognized the benefits of foam cups over the then-popular paper hot cups. These benefits include superior insulation, strength and durability—all provided at a lower cost due to Dart’s unrivaled proprietary technical innovations. Dart’s early success in the foam cup market was further fueled by its commitment, still evident today, to providing our customers with excellent service and products of consistently high quality.
For the past five decades, Dart has met the increasing demand for foodservice packaging products by creating new product lines for the retail/consumer and food packaging industries. To accommodate this tremendous growth in product lines, Dart expanded its presence both in the United States and worldwide. The Dart family continues to lead our company, enabling us to maintain our small-town values and sharp focus on service even as we have grown into a global corporation. Dart’s most recent major expansion came in 2012 with the purchase of Solo Cup Company, a move that doubled the size of the company and greatly expanded the diversity of our product lines, especially in the area of paper products. (Please see our historical timeline for full details of our growth.)
One of the cornerstones of Dart’s success has been our focus on vertical integration, which gives us beginning-to-end control and allows us to better govern costs, quality and service. In many cases, we produce our own raw materials, production equipment, ink and packaging film. We also run our own trucking, sales and recycling operations.
Dart Container has grown from a single 25,000-square-foot plant in Mason, to more than 40 manufacturing and distribution facilities throughout the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
We make some of the most recognizable brands and products that people use every day in restaurants, hospitals, schools and homes. We manufacture more than 4,000 products, including cups, dinnerware, cutlery, straws and deli and portion containers made from raw materials such as paper, foam and rigid polystyrene and polypropylene, PET and sugarcane—all designed with the features, advantages and benefits our customers need.
Our Environmental Commitment
We understand that our everyday decisions have an impact on the environment, our communities and our bottom line. Our commitment to the environment includes a balanced strategy that includes:
- Reducing the amount of material we use to manufacture our products without sacrificing quality, minimizing the film and boxes we use to package our products and lessening solvent emissions by curing our inks with UV light.
- Reusing heat from our cup-making process to warm many of our facilities, diverting landfill gases to generate electricity at our largest manufacturing plant and using clean scrap from our production process to make more products.
- Recycling foam EPS #6 that we collect at our plants and other drop-off facilities across the U.S. by selling it to manufacturers of picture frames, interior molding, pens, rulers and foam packaging. We are the award-winning industry leader in creating and promoting recycling opportunities for EPS foam #6. We also recycle the paper scrap from our Fusion cups, and our Bare® by Solo® brand is the industry’s first full line of foodservice products made using recycled, recyclable, compostable or renewable materials.
Our Community Involvement
Community involvement is encouraged and celebrated at all our locations. Every day, Dart employees around the world take part in projects that improve the lives of others—whether it’s teaching kids about recycling, supporting local schools, cleaning up rivers and roadways, organizing blood drives or donating time and money to nonprofits small and large. As a corporation, we partner with organizations such as Meals on Wheels and the American Red Cross, providing financial support and products to help them fulfill their very important missions.
Legal And Social Accountability Policy
Conformity with Applicable Laws and Regulations
All employees deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. No employee will be discriminated against based on genetic information and family medical history, race, color, religion, sex, age, physical ability, national origin, or any other protected class. Dart’s long-standing policy is to comply with all local and national laws wherever Dart conducts business, to uphold a high standard of ethics, and to cooperate with reasonable requests for information by government entities or agencies.
In addition, Dart requires its suppliers to adhere to the guidelines set forth in this policy. They must conform to all pertinent local and national legal requirements, customs, and published industry standards pertaining to employment and manufacturing. If there is a conflict between legal requirements and published industry standards, suppliers must comply with the law that takes precedence at a minimum.