Tim Hortons contest concerns environmentalists - The Pioneer

By Nakita Krucker

The Pioneer, Feb 11th, 2016

RRRoll Up the Rim to Win is back in action at Tim Hortons, delighting die-hard Tim Hortons enthusiasts, but making the environmentally conscious cringe.

This year, the main concern for many seems to be how to properly claim the prize printed across the rolled or chewedup rim of the disposable cup. But what can easily be forgotten during the contest is bringing in a reusable mug.

“It’s a great marketing strategy for Tim Hortons,” said Dr. Franz Hartmann, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “But it’s really bad for the environment. It becomes a disincentive for bringing your own mug in.”

Those who bring in reusable mugs are continually offered disposable cups so that they too can have a chance to win. “It kind of defeats the whole purpose of the exercise,” said Hartmann.

Hailey DeDominicis, senior communications manager for Tim Hortons, said the company is aware of the concern, pointing out that the contest serves a dual purpose.

“No additional cups are produced for RRRoll Up the Rim to Win,” said DeDominicis in an email. “They would have been printed regardless in the normal course of business.

“Guests who prefer to drink from china mugs in restaurant can still participate by playing RRRoll Up Replay, our online game, at www.rolluptherimtowin.com for a chance to win great prizes.”

There are other options for reusable mug users, but what about the now 30-year-old Canadian tradition of rolling up the rim in anticipation? Within Canada, getting rid of this seasonal activity may be a sore spot. It’s up to both the consumer and Tim Hortons to make an effort to be more environmentally conscious, Hartmann explained, emphasizing what he said is the corporation’s responsibility.

“Tim Hortons is a large multinational company and when they make a decision at the corporate head office, it has implications in every town across the country.,” There is nothing stoping Tims from taking responsibility for their packaging waste, because that’s what a refillable coffee cup is, it’s packaging waste.”

Tim Hortons’ cups can be recycled but are not accepted in recycling programs everywhere across Canada. At this time, the Bay of Quinte region, currently, does not accept disposable coffee cups in its blue box program and they get put into waste.

“Once you leave Tim Hortons with a disposable coffee cup, it will not be recycled,” said Dan Orr, communications co-ordinator at Quinte Waste Solutions. “If anything, bring your cups back to Tim Hortons and dispose of them there.”

According to Tim Hortons website, the chain does have programs in a number of their restaurants within Canada to capture paper cups for recycling. But for the most part, Hartmann reiterated, coffee cups end up in landfills.

“We’re going to come up with ways that say it’s easily recyclable or we’re going to work with local municipalities and make sure that we will cover the cost of recycling these cups,” is what Hartmann said he wants to hear from the corporation.

“But most importantly ‘We’re going to try to encourage our customers to bring in their own cups.’ They should be doing that. That’s just called being a good corporate citizen.”

According to the company, the issue is on its agenda.

“We will be releasing a sustainability framework encompassing a broad range of sustainability topics later in 2016,” said DeDominicis in her email.


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