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Tim Hortons Restaurant Closes Loop On Cup Recycling

Popular coffee chain is first Canadian QSR to turn used cups into restaurant service trays.

Tim Hortons, Canada‘s largest coffee chain, has announced its Cup-to-Tray program.  The new initiative closes the loop on paper cups used in Tim Hortons restaurants by recycling used cups into service trays that will be used as take-out trays in its restaurants.

About two years ago, the company partnered with Nova Scotia-based Scotia Recycling Ltd., in an effort to find a way to recapture used cups and effectively recycle them.  Scotia Recycling now collects cups from about a third of all Tim Hortons locations across Canada.

In other parts of Canada, cups and other paper packaging are collected at Tim Hortons restaurants and diverted from landfills where possible. In total, there are more than 650 Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada offering cup-recycling or composting programs.

The company had recently been criticized for a yearly prize-driven promotion which encouraged the use of paper cups.  The “Roll-Up-Your-Rim” game allowed patrons to buy coffee in paper cups in order to win large prizes like plasma TVs and SUV.  But critics argued that it also encouraged the use of paper cups over the environmentally friendly ceramic mug traditionally used in the restaurant.  Tim Hortons responded by working to not only recapture the used paper cups, but to recycle them into usable service trays.  The trays themselves can even be recycled into other items when their life-cycle ends.

“Having this process of turning used cups into recyclable trays and diverting those cups from landfills is a great success and one we are proud of,” said Greg Smith, Senior Manager, Regional Marketing – Atlantic Canada, Tim Hortons. “But the only way for this program to work is for the cups to be brought back to our restaurants and properly recycled.”

The Cup-to-Tray program currently operates only in St. John´s, Newfoundland. But the company said it intends to roll the program out across the rest of the province and in neighboring New Brunswick in the coming year.

The Cup-to-Tray program has the capacity to recycle 100 percent of Tim Hortons’ annual Nova Scotia cup inventory and is just one aspect of the company’s Making a True Difference corporate social responsibility vision.

Sounds like a good start.  Now Canadians can drink their coffee and recycle the cup, too.

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.


2 thoughts on “Tim Hortons Restaurant Closes Loop On Cup Recycling

  1. What is the annual volume of cup usage in Nova Scotia? So they have the capacity to recycle 100% of the cups, but I wonder how many are actually getting recycled. It’s easy for the majority of the population to leave the restaurant with the cups and throw them away at home. Only the truly ‘green’ consumers will make a point of bringing their dirty cups back to Tim Hortons. If the paper cups can be recycled at the restaurant and end up mixed with other regular paper, can the cups also be recycled in curbside or community drop-off locations that collect paper?

    Posted by Dubs614 | November 8, 2011, 2:58 am
  2. I dont want it to sound like I am not grateful for the efforts of a big restaurant chain. It’s great they are making an effort to eliminate waste! I just know that most of the public does not participate in things like this… or maybe Canadians care more about recycling than Americans do.

    Posted by Dubs614 | November 8, 2011, 3:03 am

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