Tim Hortons makes environmental changes

Tim Hortons is going dome, replacing its familiar, flat—and sometimes leaky—coffee cup lids with a domed version that has become commonplace at other coffee shops in recent years.

The new lids aren’t just about form though. Made from polypropylene, the lids are recyclable and “accepted by 95% of curb-side recycling programs in Canada,” according to a release.

The company spent more than two years testing the lids. “We have to make sure that we get it absolutely perfect,” said chief operating officer Michael Hancock of the extensive testing. “There were actually 20 iterations of the lid.” The new lids will go atop cups that have been slightly redesigned to match the brand’s updated visual identity.

The lids were among a handful of sustainability changes announced Monday, including the introduction of straw-less lids for iced coffee, wooden stir sticks, and testing of a more environmentally friendly paper cup made with a greater percentage of recyclable material. Tim Hortons is also promising a new marketing and advertising campaign to encourage greater use of reusable cups. A new Tim Hortons reusable cup will be in stores this summer, with a starting price of $1.99.

“We really want to educate our guests and change their behaviour to be more sustainability conscious,” said Hancock. Marketing will begin with an in-store push “over the next several months,” he said. A paid media campaign is also planned, but there are no confirmed dates yet.

The marketing will focus on encouraging people to bring their reusable cup to restaurants as often as possible. “Our brand is such a routine business,” he said. “Our guests sometimes come every day of the week. We want to help them to make [the reusable cup] part of their daily habit.”

The company also announced Monday that it is rolling out new in-store brewing technology which it says will deliver more consistent coffee at every store.

“Extensive research shows guests love Tim Hortons coffee, but it needs to be served more consistently,” said Kevin West, Tim Hortons’ head of coffee excellence, in the release. “We’re excited to evolve our coffee brewing technology keeping our always brewed fresh every 20 minutes promise to guests and delivering our iconic taste in every cup.”

David Brown