Mya Chau and Eve Helman, both 12, and Ben Duthie, 16, are behind a change.org petition asking Canada’s iconic coffee chain to introduce a fully compostable or recyclable paper cup. (The Canadian Press)

Trio of Calgary kids ask Canadian coffee chain to rethink popular contest

The kids want a greener, electronic way to run Roll Up the Rim

Three young people in Calgary are challenging Tim Hortons to roll up the rim for the planet.

Mya Chau and Eve Helman, both 12, and Ben Duthie, 16, are behind a change.org petition asking Canada’s iconic coffee chain to introduce a fully compostable or recyclable paper cup.

They also think the coffee chain, which has more than 4,600 stores worldwide and claims to sell two billion cups of coffee every year, can use its popular Roll Up the Rim to Win contest to encourage customers to bring in reusable mugs.

“If Tim Hortons had some sort of electronic version of the Roll Up the Rim to Win I think that would be a much more environmentally positive way to run the contest,” said Duthie.

Roll Up the Rim to Win has been held by Tim Hortons since 1986, and this year’s version of the contest launches Wednesday.

The kids say the company could, for example, give people who bring in reusable cups two chances to win rather than just one, or it could move the entire game online.

Tim Hortons has had some electronic components of its game, including Scroll Up the Rim to Win, which was introduced last year on the company’s mobile app. The prizes on the app version were limited to coffee and doughnuts. The prizes available to people playing by rolling up the rims of their coffee cups include cars.

Duthie said he understands the contest would have to be rebranded if disposable cups were eliminated altogether.

“I do think that would be a challenge for them but I think it’s certainly possible,” he said.

While theoretically the plastic-lined single-use coffee cups used by chains like Tim Hortons and McDonalds can be recycled, most municipal recycling systems aren’t equipped to do it. The kids say more than 600 billion single-use cups are produced worldwide every year and all companies need to find a way to be better about reusing, composting or recycling them.

Jane Almeida, a spokeswoman for Restaurant Brands International, which owns Tim Hortons, said in a written statement the company is working on a packaging strategy to reduce its environmental footprint, offers china dishes for customers eating in its shops, and has discounts for customers who bring their own reusable cups.

“Working closely with industry, Tim Hortons will also begin testing a new strawless lid in 2019 and increasing the amount of recycled content in our packaging,” Almeida said.

Sarah King, head of the oceans and plastics campaign at Greenpeace Canada, said Roll Up the Rim is a fun contest that Canadians love but it inherently encourages people to use cups that will mostly end up in the garbage.

She said the company is in a good position to influence change given its popularity and loyal customer base.

READ MORE: B.C. man claims Tim Hortons refused to sell him sandwich for homeless panhandler

Several restaurant companies are addressing concerns about plastic packaging. Starbucks last year began a quest to find someone to design a biodegradable liner for its coffee cups, a move that came after Chau and Helman petitioned it to build a better cup.

Duthie also petitioned Starbucks to stop giving out plastic straws and the company is phasing those out by 2020.

Their petition for Tim Hortons now has nearly 105,000 signatures on it.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province commits long term to 4-H in Alberta

10-year funding commitment will sustain re-structured 4-H organization

STARS praises Ponoka County as leader in province

Annual update from STARS shows big progress on helicopter campaign

Short bench for tournament host Queens

Rebuiling year sees club wind up seventh

Town selling the airport to Ponoka Flying Club

Agreement is for 25 years with option to buy back

RCMP on hunt for man who has skipped court

Public urged to call 911 if they spot him

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Alberta Appeal Court sides with Alberta on federal carbon tax

Today’s decision is the first to side with a province against the federal government

Father and two children, from Southern Alberta, killed in fatal crash in B.C.

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Most Read