It’s Roll Up The Rim time at Tim Horton’s.

Lots of prizes, including donuts coffee and cars will be passed out to Canadians over the next number of weeks. Canadians who will be more than willing to leave their recyclable mugs at home to boost the chances of swigging back a free double double.

Something about this smells funny in 2008.

Environmentalism isn’t a religion, so much as a way of life for many Canadians now. We bring reusable bags to the grocery store. We have 20 different compartments for recyclables with our trash. We bring our own coffee mugs to the coffee stand.

Sustainability is something not only preached by the likes of David Suzuki, but by governments. Just last week, BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor wore green shoes to announce the BC Budget that featured a green theme throughout.

So why, in 2008, is Tim Horton’s going back to the tried and true promotion of “buy as many unrecyclable cups as you can to try and win a donut.”

Oh, you didnt know the cups weren’t recyclable? They use a lining on the cup making them unrecyclable, and during an increased consumption contest like this, Canadians go crazy.

Tim Horton’s cups have no recycled content…In the meantime, the chain might print “Don’t litter” messages on its cups, but even Tim Hortons’ peeps admit that “many people, unfortunately, do not pay attention to these messages.”

Don’t think crossing the street will make a difference, Starbucks‘ cups aren’t much better, about 10% recycled material.

Questioning of this promotion isn’t new, people have been openly asking why Tim’s does it since 2005.

“I don’t think it’s socially responsible to have a promotion which creates massive waste,” said Ronald Colman, executive director of GPI Atlantic, a non-profit group that researches environmental and quality of life issues. In Nova Scotia, Mr. Colman said, Tim Hortons packaging accounted for 22% of all identifiable litter.

According to a CBC story from 2005, the company defends itself, by encouraging people not to litter. But they are hearing the plea for recyclables, and have started pilot recycling projects in the Maritimes.

The Tim Horton’s coffee cup is recyclable where facilities exist, such as in Moncton, New Brunswick and Windsor, Ontario. The biggest challenge is that recycling capabilities, options and requirements vary significantly between municipalities. In Owen Sound, Ontario, in November 2007, Tim Hortons proudly introduced four-stream recycling stations so that customers can recycle coffee cups and polystyrene lids on site, along with cans, bottles and other recyclable materials. Tim Hortons is now working to try to replicate this innovative program across Ontario, and in other areas of Canada, however support is needed from local waste management facilities.

Still, there’s got to be a better way to get you to grab your double double of joe on the go with the hope of scoring a free donut than by rolling up unrecyclable rims. A simple scratch card, or pull tab, while not as fun to rrrrroll, would serve the same sales driven purpose as these cups, and would ease the pressures they place on landfills.

Many contests have the old “no purchase necessary” tag at the end. So if you want to play along, with your home mug, write them a note and .. get this .. they’ll send you a cup.

In Canada, obtain a FREE Tim Hortons contest cup by writing to: Tim Hortons Contest Cup, P.O. Box 9899, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L 4P8.

What’s the point?

Let’s see if you can rrrresist the urrrrge to rrrrrroll for the next little while. For the sake of the planet.

Got a problem with Tim’s doing this promo, again? Let ‘em know:

26585 Gloucester Way
Langley, BC V4W 3S8
Tel: (604) 857-5430
Fax: (604) 857-5436
Customer Service toll-free:
The Blog According to Buzz. Spread the word, ya heard?

(Visited 852 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Dreadteir February 21, 2012 at 12:42 am

    I like what you’re thinking there Buzz.

    My suggestion, while not as effective as rrresisting, would be to offer cards that just have a rim to rrroll up, literally a 2cm x 4cm card to give out to those with reusable mugs.

  2. MikeMc July 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Good point, but the claim that the cups are unrecyclabe is different from the quote that the cups are made with no recycled material

  3. Pingback: Its Timmy Time – Timmy's Tactics

Leave a Reply