Nearly eight out of ten Canadians savour a daily cup of joe from the iconic Canadian coffee chain, Tim Hortons. Known for more than its Double-Doubles and Ice Capp’s, Timmy’s also hosts an annual “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest, which invites customers to uncover their winnings—or losses—by rolling up the rim of their coffee cups. The contest has a wide array of prizes, from a free donut to a brand-new Jeep.
The contest has been a Canadian classic since its inception in 1986, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvements—or so thinks young Calgarians Mya Chau (12), Eva Gelman(12), and Ben Duthie (16). The trio have started a petition requesting the chain to introduce compostable or recyclable paper cups.
The petition has gained momentum, acquiring about 105,000 signatures so far, and has garnered the attention of the Tim Horton’s executives, who claim to be working on decreasing the environmental footprint of their packaging. To keep up with this commitment, they aim to increase the amount of recycled content in their packaging and are introducing their first straw-less lids later in 2019.
The current single-use cups used by chains like Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s have a plastic lining to prevent the beverage from leaking. These cups can be recycled, but most municipal recycling systems are not able to manage them correctly. Unfortunately, over 16 billion of these disposable cups are used globally each year, and without proper recycling, most may end up in the landfill—aggravating the global plastic pollution problem.
Fortunately, alternatives to these cups exist and are growing in popularity. They include the always-trusty reusable mug, which some coffee shops incentivize the use of. Compostable versions are currently underway as well.
Mya, Eva, and Ben say that the Roll-Up-the-Rim event can be used to encourage customers to bring in their own reusable cups. They suggest rewarding this behaviour by doubling the waste-conscious customer’s chances to win. Otherwise, they propose that the entire game be run online—expanding upon the current “Scroll Up the Rim to Win” contest on the mobile app.
Initiatives such as this are a hopeful look at the power of the customer in demanding valuable and sustainable change from big industries. So, the next time you pick up your double-double, think about how you can double up your effort to help our leave our planet a little greener.
How can you as a customer cause change in big industries?