Recycling : Tim Hortons aims at a more sustainable future

© Tim Hortons

The international fast food chain with 4,800+ locations in Canada, the US, China, the UK, and Mexico announced three initiatives that should underline the company's commitment to sustainability.

Trial of new hot beverage cup that’s compostable and recyclable

Tim Hortons is partnering with WestRock to launch a test of an innovative new hot beverage cup design in January at select Vancouver restaurants. The test will feature cups that are made with up to 20 per cent post-consumer recycled content and are compostable and recyclable.

This design allows a greater proportion of the cup’s paper fibre to be recovered in the repulping process. The aim is to drive better economics for those that collect and repurpose post-consumer material and could help in our goal to have more recycling programs across Canada accept Tims cups. Currently, Tim Hortons hot beverage cups can be recycled in British Columbia and in some municipalities in other provinces.

Testing AI-assisted recycling technology in 12 restaurants across Canada

Tim Hortons is piloting artificial intelligence-assisted technology at select restaurants across Canada with the goals of providing recycling and composting education for guests and driving increased recycling and diversion rates.

Through a partnership with Vancouver-based Intuitive AI, waste bins at 12 restaurants across Canada will be equipped with a screen and product image recognition technology to identify packaging items that guests scan. The screen provides guidance to guests on whether the items they scanned can be recycled or go into the compost bin or should go in the waste bin.

Pilot project with zero-waste platform Loop using reusable and returnable packaging

Tim Hortons is also be partnering with TerraCycle's zero-waste platform Loop to pilot a program that will give guests the option of paying a deposit and receiving reusable and returnable cups or food containers so they can help us on our mission to reduce single-use waste.

The pilot is launching on Nov. 1 at five restaurants in Burlington, Ont. with returnable cup and food containers available for guests to use for a $3 deposit per item. Deposits will be refunded via the Loop mobile app, which must be registered with a bank account. Guests can use any of the return bins located at the five participating restaurants to return their reusable cups or food containers. All returned containers are washed and sanitized before they become available to be reused.

“Through this test we’ll start learning how guests respond to a reusables and returnable packaging system – what they like or don’t like – with the aim of refining a system that is seamless and enjoyable for more guests in more cities in the future,” said Paul Yang, Senior Director of Sustainability and Packaging for Tim Hortons.