Tim Hortons and Starbucks in hot water with recent findings
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
For many people, their coffee on-the-go comes from either the beloved Tim Hortons, the ever-growing Starbucks, or the most economic choice, McDonalds. Two of these three companies are facing criticism on what happens with their branded cups after the drink has been consumed.
According to Starbucks Annual Reports, there are more than four billion cups sold every year, and along with the influx of sales comes the concern about the amount of waste being produced, and, more importantly, recycling programs that must be implemented. Over the years, consumers around the world have become more aware of being environmentally friendly in their own lives and have voiced their opinions to companies in hopes of changing the norm.
Popular coffee chains like Tim Hortons and Starbucks have lead the revolution by providing in-store recycling bins over the years. Starbucks also set a goal five years ago to make their cups 100 per cent reusable or recyclable by 2015.
But do big corporations truly recycle like they’ve promised? CBC Marketplace Investigation went searching for the answer. They placed sensor trackers on 28 cups, 14 in each company’s in-store recycling bins in Toronto. Later that night, they returned to find seven of the cups each in garbage-only bins. The other half were never found. From the ones that were salvaged, there were recycling bins placed right beside their corresponding garbage bins, which were filled with a mix of should-be recycling and actual trash.
Having made such an appalling discovery, CBC made their way to both HQs with a cup of Tim Hortons or Starbucks coffee in hand, and a question that demanded answers. When asking a receptionist at Starbucks for a word with Rosann Williams, Senior Vice President, Erica Johnson, investigative journalist for Marketplace, was promised she would get a call sometime soon whenever someone could be interviewed. Yet Johnson didn’t give up. She tweeted Williams: “Why no interview? Can Canadians trust Starbucks’ green image?” Within the next hour, she was asked to be escorted off the premises by the property manager.
Having made no headway with Starbucks, she moved onto the Tim Hortons HQ with a burning desire for an answer. Unfortunately, she was stopped at the door when a woman, presumably a receptionist, said without question that there wasn’t anyone available for comment on the matter. Johnson stated, “[Clearly], Canada’s most beloved coffee place doesn’t love us.”
Inquisitions were confirmed by a couple of people, who work at Tim Hortons and Starbucks respectively.
“Yeah, usually the paper cups get thrown into the garbage,” said Sarah Bacabac, a Tim Hortons’ employee.
Sabrina Lin, a barista at Starbucks, simply said, “Yeah,” when asked directly if their paper cups just end up in the garbage with everything else.