Clean Technology Canada

Tim Hortons to try new compostable and recyclable zero-waste cups


October 22, 2021
By Canadian Manufacturing
Presented by:
CMO

Through a partnership with Vancouver-based Intuitive AI, waste bins at 12 Tim Hortons 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. (CNW Group/Tim Hortons)

TORONTO — Tim Hortons is partnering with WestRock to launch a test of a 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. This could help improve recyclability across Canada. Currently, Tim Hortons hot beverage cups can be recycled in British Columbia and in some municipalities in other provinces.

“We’re proud to be taking this next step on our journey to develop cups that can be recycled anywhere in Canada, or that are compostable,” said Paul Yang, Senior Director of Sustainability and Packaging for Tim Hortons, in a company statement.

This latest design builds off previous work that separately tested cups made with post-consumer recycled materials, and cups that featured a liner that was compostable or recyclable. This trial is testing a cup that is compostable or recyclable while also utilizing recycled materials.

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, go into the compost bin or go in the waste bin.

The test period will begin with an analysis of how guests are currently using the waste, recycling and compost bins in select restaurants before the on-screen guidance is turned on. The technology is currently installed at test restaurants in Vancouver and will be added to select restaurants in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia before the end of the year.

Tim Hortons is also 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.

The pilot is launching on November 1st, 2021 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 sanitized before they become available for reuse.