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.