Tim Hortons teams up with TerraCycle to test reusable, returnable food packaging program
Tim Hortons is 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 with their order so they can help us on our mission to reduce single-use waste.
When guests are finished their drink or meal, they can return their reusable cups or food containers at a participating restaurant and have their deposit refunded. The reusable cups and food containers are then professionally cleaned and sanitized by Loop so they can be reused again and again. It's anticipated that over time, the Loop platform would have a growing number of drop-off locations — both at Tim Hortons restaurants and elsewhere — that would make the program even more convenient for guests to participate in.
The pilot test is expected to start in 2021 at select Toronto restaurants.
"To really make an impact, we know we need to do something completely different. And as Canada's quick service restaurant leader, we also know it's our responsibility to be bold in that change. That's why we're really excited to be announcing this industry-leading initiative. A first of its kind in Canada that focuses on reusables," said Hope Bagozzi, Chief Marketing Officer of Tim Hortons. "Throughout Waste Reduction Week, we've been making announcements about the many ways we're working to use more recycled materials, make our products more recyclable, and reduce waste. Yesterday's announcement on the end of double-cupping will eliminate the use of 200 million cups over the next year. Adding a reusable option to our sustainability packaging mix sets us apart in our journey to reduce waste."
In February, Tim Hortons announced plans to give away nearly two million reusable cups as part of a 10-year commitment to change consumer perceptions and habits towards using reusable cups. That plan was paused due to the pandemic, but will be relaunched when possible.
"During COVID, we have seen that consumers have relied more on single-use cups and containers due to health restrictions. This initiative by Tim Hortons signals that getting back to adopting reusable containers will be important when those restrictions are lifted," said Tom Szaky, TerraCycle and Loop CEO. "This partnership with Tim Hortons will allow guests to easily bring reusability into their daily lives, and whether they choose to eat-in or takeaway, they will be able to get some of their favourite food and drinks in a reusable container."
Other sustainability initiatives Tim Hortons has announced during this week's Waste Reduction Week include:
Significant improvements have been made to paper napkins, which guests will see in restaurants in early 2021. The new napkins are made with 100 percent recycled fibre and use 25 per cent less material. The change to the new napkins is expected to save 900 tonnes of paper each year.
Tim Hortons is taking another significant step toward cutting its use of plastics by preparing to rollout new paper-based wrappers for sandwiches and bagels that are fully recyclable, while also cutting the use of paper by 17 percent annually. The new packaging, expected to be in restaurants in January, is estimated to reduce more than 460 tonnes of plastic over the next year.
Tim Hortons announced the shift to paper straws, which is estimated to eliminate the use of about 300 million plastic straws over the next year.
On Nov. 4, Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada will stop the practice of double-cupping and will instead be offering guests a recyclable cardboard sleeve for their hot drinks. The move is expected to eliminate the unnecessary use of more than 200 million cups per year - or the equivalent of wrapping half the circumference of the planet with Tim Hortons cups.