Tim Hortons to Test Recyclable and Compostable Cup, Use AI Tech at Stores and More

Time hortons AI Recycling tool

Tim Hortons says it is celebrating Waste Reduction Week by starting some new pilot projects aimed at reducing waste.

The company said on Thursday it has partnered with Atlanta-based packaging company WestRock, to trial a recyclable and compostable hot beverage cup at select stores in Vancouver, starting in January 2022. The cups will be able to be recycled in B.C. 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 statement.

Tim Hortons says it will also be leveraging artificial intelligence technology at 12 select stores across Canada, to help customers recycle inside restaurants.

Using tech from Vancouver-based Intuitive AI, restaurants waste bins will have a screen and camera to help customers recycle.

“Hold your items up to the screen”, reads the message on monitors placed above waste bins. A camera will then scan and identify the item, and indicate on the monitor whether the packaging should be going into the waste bin, recycling or compost.

Some test restaurants in Vancouver are currently using the tech and will expand to select Tim Hortons locations in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia before the end of 2021.

A partnership with TerraCycle and its Loop app, to give customers an option of paying a deposit and getting reusable and returnable cups or food containers, at $3 deposit per item. This program will start at five restaurants in Burlington, Ontario:

  • 1220 Brant St.
  • 2201 Brant St.
  • 3485 Harvester Rd.
  • 4033 New St.
  • 29 Plains Rd

These five locations will have return bins to allow customers to bring back their cups and containers, which will be washed and sanitized before being reused again. The Loop app will set up the deposits and also issue the refunds, with a linked customer bank account to be required to use the program.