For the second year in a row, Tim Hortons has been revealed to be one of the country's worst plastic polluters, joining Nestle and Starbucks on the worst-in-Canada list. A new report has found that their plastic bottles, coffee cups, lids, and other branded plastic waste were some of the most common items recorded during Canada-wide beach and ocean cleanups.
Over the past couple of months, Greenpeace has been working with the Break Free From Plastic movement, and they have completed brand audits country-wide in order to uncover Canada’s worst offending plastic polluters.
According to the report, thousands of volunteers spent hundreds of hours sifting through Canada’s discarded plastic packaging, which had all been retrieved from beaches, rivers, shorelines, and oceans in Canada. The branding of these items was noted and logged, and the report has officially concluded the country’s worst plastic polluters.
Joining Nestle, Tim Hortons and Starbucks, it was McDonald's and the Coca-Cola Company that rounded out the top five worst offenders.
According to the report, the most common plastic items found on Canada's shorelines included cigarette butts, bottles and bottle caps, food wrappers, cups and lids, plastic bags, straws, and stir sticks.
Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada's oceans and plastics campaign, told CBC News that their primary goal was to "hold companies accountable for the plastic pollution problem that they continue to create."
The report explained, “...It’s impossible to count the number of [Tim Hortons] coffee cups or lids I have seen or picked up along a highway, in a park, on a beach or along a river. So it’s no wonder that the prevalence of these cups at our cleanup and audit locations landed this company in the second top polluter spot in Canada.”
It added, "I wonder what Sidney Crosby and other hockey players think about their face being on those cups now?”
Speaking to Narcity about the Greenpeace report, a Tim Hortons spokesperson explained, "We believe that we have a responsibility to contribute to a clean environment."
They went on to note that they have offered a 10-cent discount to anyone who brings a reusable mug since 1978, and confirmed that they're also launching a new $1.99 reusable cup.
Tim Hortons also claims they have been attempting to contact Greenpeace “to discuss developing a productive relationship to assist us in accelerating our sustainability initiatives,” but have yet to receive a response.
This isn’t the first time Tim Hortons has been criticized for its impact on the environment. Earlier this year, their "Roll Up The Rim" promotion came under fire from Canadians, who argued that the 300 million red cups that were made for the competition would inevitably have a negative impact on the environment.
The competition was not available to anyone using reusable cups or containers, meaning that you had to buy a single-use cup to enter.
Earlier this year, the federal government proposed a ban on all single-use plastics in Canada. It is not yet known exactly when this will be implemented, and exactly which products it will include.