Tim Hortons Inc has announced a plan to boost its environmental performance by establishing a new in-store recycling program for the millions of coffee cups and other waste the coffee and donut shop chain generates daily.
The move is seen in part as a reaction to a forthcoming plan from the City of Toronto to take on food packaging that ends up in its landfill sites.
With its estimated 80 percent share of the national coffee market, Tim Hortons has become the poster child for fast food and packaging litter in Canada, replacing McDonalds as an iconic brand consumers hold accountable to do more for the environment.
The company will offer recycling bins for paper, cans and bottles, building on a program it developed and tested in Ontario with help from the Recycling Council of Ontario. Key to the program was finding an end-market for the materials; coffee cups will be recycled into roofing paper or cardboard boxes.
The company’s plan may still run afoul of City of Toronto officials, who complain that the cups still end up in its waste stream and, while the cups may be recyclable, they’re often tossed with their plastic lids attached, which contaminates the recycling stream. This complaint is being made at the very time that paper mills are rejecting bales of material that contain contamination, especially from single-stream recycling programs like the one operated by Toronto.