U.S. Corporation Tim Hortons Supercedes Government Again – This Time Municipal

Tim Hortons Cross-checks City Into Submission

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 11.13.08

tim hortonThe late Tim Horton never let anyone push him around, and neither does his eponymous coffee chain. They just body-checked and high-sticked the City of Toronto into submission on its plans to reduce waste, so much of which comes from that one hugely successful chain.

The City calls it a “compromise”.

“This allows industry and leaders like Tim Hortons to sit down with the city on how we are actually going to reduce the volume of garbage going into our garbage dumps,” said committee chairman Glenn De Baeremaeker “How do we get 365 million coffee cups out of the garbage stream and into the recycling stream?”

Simple. You dump them on his doorstep. But Timmy stomped his skates and refused to change his cups or lids, or to contribute to the three million dollar cost of recycling machinery to separate them. And for some reason, he got his way.

More on Garbage from Tim Hortons:

Business Enraged at Toronto Proposals for Reducing Waste
Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 11. 5.08

tim hortons gravenhurst photo

Two weeks ago I stopped at the Timmys just south of Gravenhurst, shown above, and walked to the edge of their parking lot with the puppy. Two feet beyond the edge of their own parking lot was this view.

That is what Tim Horton’s is like. They sell 80% of the coffee in Canada and they really don’t care what happens two feet beyond the edge of their property. So what if this is the view from the parking lot in the middle of scenic Muskoka.

another view from the Gravenhurst Tim Horton parking lot

The City of Toronto has complained before that it is tired of cleaning it up; Councillor Gord Perks said last year:

The city of Toronto, both in households, in street cleaning and in our parks, is paying for the fact the province will not regulate packaging and will not make the manufacturers and producers of that waste pay the cost of cleaning it up – which means the property taxpayer has to pay for it (and) we have to spend precious dollars from our parks department.”

Timmy’s spokesperson responded that “Tim Hortons urges customers not to litter, has placed recycling bins outside its outlets, and is a sponsor of the city’s annual spring cleanup.”

Now they have gone to war with the City, which wants them to redesign their cup. The City complains that a cardboard cup with a plastic lid screws up the recycling process by contaminating the paper with plastic. The city also wants stores to offer a 20 cent discount for those who bring their own mugs.

Spokesman Nick Javor responded that the company will “absolutely not” redesign its cups to suit Toronto, said Javor, who says plastic lids are the only leak-proof products on the market.

On the other hand, StarbucksScryve Corporate Social Responsibility Rating is “currently engaged with city officials in “very productive meetings” aimed at making their cups recyclable.”

tim hortons corner photo
Did I say they didn’t care about two feet beyond?

Perhaps it’s time for us to tell Tim Horton’s what we think. Perhaps they should provide decent and adequate garbage handling and recycling at all of their stores. Perhaps they should try and cooperate with the City in dealing with their corporate detritus. Perhaps they should put a deposit on every paper cup so that the jerks who throw them onto the ground will be encouraged to bring them back.

Perhaps Canadians should buy their coffee somewhere else until they start taking responsibility for the garbage they generate.

Globe and Mail
and Toronto Star

More on Tim Horton’s Garbage
It’s Time for Deposits. On Everything.
Brewing Up Change at Your Coffee Chain
Green Suggestions for Coffee Shops
Make That Coffee Cup Porcelain, Not Paper
Toronto Considering Deposits On Everything

Tim Hortons Continues to Block Environmental Initiatives Behind Closed Door Meetings


Mind numbing statistics, just coffee cups and lids.


City may delay day of reckoning for coffee-cup recycling

The city is considering pushing back a deadline it had already extended to June for Tim Hortons, the fast-food industry and its own officials to solve the caffeine headaches that have come with trying to recycle the one million takeout coffee cups used in Toronto every day.

A working group of city waste officials and industry representatives was briefed yesterday in a closed-door meeting on three consultants’ reports – which cost $50,000 – on the difficulties of including the cups in the blue box.

The reports, obtained by The Globe and Mail, and a provincial review of blue-box legislation may force the city to extend the deadline again, Geoff Rathbone, the city’s general manager of solid waste, said yesterday.

The city ended up in a fight with coffee shops last year after it threatened to ban the current standard takeout coffee cup, which it said it could not recycle.

The city said the cups’ plastic coating and plastic lids would contaminate its paper recycling stream, unless it spent at least $3-million on new equipment and $1-million in new operating costs for its sorting plants.

The city also said it would mandate a 20-cent discount for all coffee-shop customers who bring in reusable mugs, but agreed to new talks with the industry. A previous April deadline was pushed back to June.

The latest possible delay was welcomed by Stephanie Jones, the Ontario vice-president of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association and a member of the working group.

Ms. Jones, who points to smaller Ontario municipalities that recycle coffee cups, said she was encouraged by the consultants’ reports: “This is really the first time that we have clearly seen that taxes and bans are not the only two pieces under consideration.”

The Globe obtained PowerPoint slides summarizing the three consultants’ reports.

A paper-mill survey by Amec Americas Ltd. says the cups must first be completely separated from other recyclables and could be turned into tissue. But it includes a long list of potential problems, including contamination from the ink, the cups’ coating, and those common cardboard insulation sleeves.

No mill contacted was willing to take the material without a trial run. Many said they would need city money to convert their facilities.

To sort the material by hand, according to a report by Entec Consulting Ltd., the city would need up to 40 more people picking cups and lids off conveyor belts in its recycling sorting stations, which would have to be expanded.

Using automated “optical” or “near infrared” sorting machines also poses problems, as they cannot separate the cups from other paper and may not be able to capture the dark-brown plastic lids used on some cups.

A third report summarizes the results from focus groups conducted by Ipsos Reid, and says almost all the participants wrongly believed they could throw their coffee cups in the blue box now, while others were “confused.”

With a report from Jennifer



Fallout from takeout

1 million: Estimated takeout coffee cups generated in Toronto each day

152,858: Number that leave the city

336,883: Number brought in

1,184,025: Net daily that end up in Toronto’s waste

357,575,550: Annual total

4,291 tonnes a year: Weight of those cups

715 tonnes a year: Weight of their plastic lids

Source: Report for city by

Entec Consultng Ltd., obtained

by The Globe and Mail