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Canadian Coffee Chain Tim Hortons Finally Ditches Double Cups for Hot Drinks to Reduce Waste


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Double cups no more! After using double cups stacked on top of one another for decades, iconic Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons has finally announced it will end the practice of “double-cupping” and start offering recyclable cardboard sleeves as an alternative for hot drinks like espresso and tea.

The brand, which announced the move in a press release published on Wednesday, said it would help eliminate 200 million cups from landfills each year in an effort to become more sustainable.

“As the biggest market leader when it comes to coffee and hot beverages in Canada, it's part of our responsibility to look at our footprint and our sustainability,” Tim Hortons’ chief marketing officer Hope Bagozzi told CTV. “The notion of double cupping is a big deal, and it catches attention, but it's just one of many things that we're working on.” 

On social media, critics questioned the added environmental value of the move, highlighting that while the sleeve was recyclable, cups weren’t.

In fact, coffee cups are particularly difficult to dispose of responsibly because of the plastic coating that helps keep liquids warm. In Canada, some 14 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year, with 35% of these consumed "to go". Yet single-use cups can cause major environmental damage in rural and urban communities, according to Zero Waste Canada.

In 2019, Greenpeace also listed Tim Hortons among Canada’s top 5 polluters for the second year, urging the chain to “make a real commitment to solving [its plastic problem] through ditching disposables and embracing reuse.”

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Bagozzi said the company was actively working on that.

The release mentioned Tim Hortons was exploring other environmentally-conscious initiatives as part of and beyond Waste Reduction Week, including the introduction of a new cup with a recyclable and compostable lining in a select number of its Vancouver restaurants. 

Meanwhile, the brand is getting rid of 4,000 plastic straws, and another trial with cups made of 30% recycled materials is also being tested in Calgary and Toronto.