Changing the Landscape: One Bag At a Time

March 24, 2012 1:30 p.m. 4 degrees intermittent cloud

I didn’t even want to go out today to pick up other people’s garbage.  What do people care anyway?  Out of some sort of self-discipline, I went ahead.  I didn’t feel enthusiasm, but did it out of care for the birds who will be soon nesting in the area and other wildlife.  Driving through the construction zone for the new Deerfooot expansion, I kept in mind how wildlife is already being crowded out by our consumerism and our development.  This is the least I can do.

March 24, 2012 Any given day, I pick up at least 20 Tim Hortons cups, with plastic lids.

After picking, I took my stacks of over 23 Tim Hortons cups to the store, neighbouring the park.  I left my stack in the van, but went in to explore this franchise’s alignment with their own sustainability report.  I found one small sign that encourages people to bring in their travel mugs and save ten cents on their cup of coffee.  I was lucky to find both the manager and the owner, willing to speak with me.  It was a sensible conversation.  The owner listened to what I had to say about the sustainability report and the goal to reduce packaging by 5% every year for the past three years.  He heard what I had to say about implementing a deposit program for returned cups. (I could get rich on a program like this.)  He heard what I had to say about the need for a recycling program that guarantees the scrubbing out of the poly lining and that these cups should NOT be landing in our landfills.  He told me that there would be some follow-up in terms of his input at a future meeting with his fellow business people.  I’m going to hold him to this.

Lattes! The Highschool Market!

Off of the Tim Hortons website….

At Tim Hortons, we are aware of the environmental impacts of our packaging and waste materials. We are attempting to deal with the litter issue in a variety of ways:

  • We have anti-litter messages on all of our packaging items, including a “Do Not Litter” message on all of our take-out cups. Sadly, many people do not pay attention to these messages but we continue to work with other members of our industry to tackle the litter problem in a meaningful and effective way.
  • To ensure a clean community many Tim Hortons restaurants sponsor local clean up events and activities in their communities.
  • We have waste reduction strategies to try and combat litter from its source. Tim Hortons is one of the few quick service restaurants to offer china mugs, plates and bowls to guests eating in our restaurants. This helps to reduce paper waste being created in the first place.
  • All Tim Hortons restaurants sell reusable Tim Mugs. And while a Tim Mug may not be a practical solution for all guests it does provide a good alternative. The incentive for purchasing a Tim Mug is that the first coffee is free (coupon included inside the Tim Travel Mug) and each refill gets a 10 cent discount (hot beverage discount applies to any travel mug fill).

I’m also really wondering about the burned pages of this particular book…every day for more than a month I have trashed these. 

As I pick up other people’s garbage (for example, I found Coach Harvie’s notebook, ripped and soaked on the edge of the park today…) I think about the garbage collectors written into several of my favourite novels.  I’m going to write a separate post about that some time in the future.

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