Roll Up the Rim and recycle, environmentalists urge Tim Hortons

Young environmentalists in front of a Tim Hortons.
(L-R): Mya Chau, 12, Ben Duthie, 16, and Eve Helman, 12, started the online petition #BetterCup, calling on Tim Hortons to invest in fully recyclable and compostable cups. Courtesy Gina Ko

Three young environmentalists from Calgary are trying to make Canada’s beloved Roll Up the Rim contest more environmentally friendly.

Mya Chau, 12, Eve Helman, 12, and Ben Duthie, 16, have started an online #BetterCup petition, calling on Tim Hortons to invest in fully recyclable and compostable cups.

“We’d like Tim Hortons to move away from single-use culture, because single-use culture is not good for the environment,” Chau said in a phone interview.

Previously, their #BetterCup initiative pushed Starbucks to promise to invest $10 million in an eco-friendly, fully recyclable “next-gen cup.” Duthie also petitioned the company to eliminate plastic straws by 2020. Now the team is focusing on Tim Hortons.

“Tim Hortons is Canada’s most popular and most favourite coffee chain, and we thought that they could be a leader (for other companies) if they made a better cup out of fully recoverable materials,” Helman said. She hopes the company will meet with them so they could share tips on how to be more environmentally friendly.

“Maybe if people brought their own mugs, they could have two chances of winning,” she said, “or they could use a barcode on the receipt.”

The official Tim Hortons website states that its cup can be recycled, but “it is not accepted for recycling everywhere at this time.” According to Sarah King, Head of Greenpeace Canada’s Oceans & Plastics campaign, the plastic lining inside the cups prevents most recycling companies from repurposing them.

King noted that Tim Hortons produces hundreds of millions of cups during the contest. Last October, Greenpeace Canada crowned the company the second-top polluter in Canada during clean-up activities across the country.

“It’s a perfect time for Tim Hortons to rethink its approach and roll up its sleeves to start tackling its plastic problem,” King said.

Chau said their goal is for Tim Hortons to invest in eco-friendly cups. “It doesn’t have to be the next-gen cup, but something that is fully recyclable and eco-friendly,” she said.

Tim Hortons has been contacted for comment but has not responded. Jane Almeida, a spokeswoman for Restaurant Brands International, which owns Tim Hortons, said in a written statement to The Canadian Press that the company is working on a new, environmentally friendly packaging strategy. Whether the strategy includes Roll Up the Rim cups is unclear.

As of Feb. 13, 151,797 people had signed the Tim Hortons #BetterCup petition. The goal is 200,000 signatures. The 33rd Roll Up the Rim to Win contest runs until April 17, or until cup supplies last.

Tim Hortons

Greenpeace Canada crowned Tim Hortons the second-top polluter in Canada during clean-up activities across the country, according to Sarah King, Head of the Oceans & Plastics campaign at Greenpeace Canada. (Kateryna Bandura/Toronto Observer)

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Posted: Feb 14 2019 9:09 pm
Filed under: Business News