Reusable AND returnable take-out containers and cups available at Tim Hortons?!

Yep! You’re not dreaming. The announcement was made last week: in 2021, Tim Hortons will launch a partnership with Loop, a provider of reusable, returnable containers, offering customers at some Toronto locations the ability to get their food and beverages in reusable packaging that they can bring back on their next visit. After three years of advocating for reusable solutions like a reusable cup-share program, this is a real step in the right direction for Canada’s most iconic Top 5 Plastic Polluters

Tim Hortons® to test a reusable, returnable cup and food packaging program with zero-waste platform Loop (CNW Group/Tim Hortons)

–> Check out our reaction here and how we propose Tim Hortons can build on this move!

Starbucks on the other hand still hasn’t responded to our public call to in the very least reintroduce reusable cups in its coffee shops in Canada —  as the company did so in Europe, Middle-East and Africa — despite health experts saying reusables are a safe option during the pandemic with basic sanitation in place.

What’s wrong with disposable cups?

Although the federal government has not seen fit to include plastic lined cups and lids in its single-use plastic ban, the fact remains that these disposable items are major waste generators and polluters. These cups are difficult to recycle, and much of them end up in landfills where they will take decades to degrade, or they overflow out of garbage cans onto the street and into the environment.

A Starbucks cup that washed ashore along the St. John River in Fredericton New Brunswick.

Starbucks alone distributes more than 6 billion of these disposable cups and mugs worldwide each year, according to the company’s own figures. Tim Hortons has not released its own data, but has suggested that ending the practice of “double-cupping” would prevent 200 million cups from going to landfill each year, which gives an idea of the magnitude of their plastic problem. The coffee sector is a big waste creator and has taken far to long to clean up their act.

Fortunately, solutions exist, and reusable alternatives are among them. In a returnable model, the reusable cup can even make life easier for drinking-on-the-go enthusiasts, since they no longer need to think about carrying their own reusable cup everywhere with them. 

If we want to take action against plastic pollution, we must support solutions when they arise and put the responsibility of ensuring more sustainable reusable options back on the company who is offering the products. This announcement from Tim Hortons is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

How you can support the campaign

Tim Hortons

For Tim Hortons, since this is a test that will only involve a few Toronto-area cafés for now, we must show the company that we want single-use packaging swapped out for reusables ASAP and the pilot to spread across Canada.

Let Tim Hortons know that you would like to see the company become more reusable by offering the reusable and returnable options at other cafés in the chain.

Encourage the company through a Tweet

Hey , it’s good to see you testing reusables in . I can’t wait for this new partnership with to be trialed in my neighborhood. Will you extend it to other cities in Canada and replace disposables to ensure reduction?
Hey , it’s great to see you testing a program that could reduce ! I can’t wait for this new partnership with to be available in my neighbourhood. Will you extend it to all cities across Canada?

Write to Tim Hortons customer service

Use your own words or copy this text:

Your decision to test a reusable, returnable cup and container program in 2021 is a step in the right direction.
I hope the introduction of reusable options reduces the number of disposables used and I would like to see this initiative spread across Canada so that we can consume take-out without creating unnecessary waste. Do you also plan to phase out the distribution of disposable cups in order to further develop a culture of reusability among your customers? Yours sincerely,


In August, Starbucks brought back reusable cups with contactless coffee in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but not in Canada. A strange decision to say the least, and one that isn’t based on any health-related findings. And this from a company that has promised to move towards reusables by 2030!

This has to change. Tell Starbucks to follow suit and to offer a reusable, waste-free coffee to go right here in Canada.

Sign the petition

And then share it with your friends:

Tag the company on Twitter

Hey , have you heard the news? is launching a , returnable program with in 2021. Will you be next to test real solutions to reduce single-use waste? >>

Write to Starbucks Customer Service

Use your own words or copy this text:

A few days ago, Tim Hortons announced the launch of a reusable, returnable cup and container pilot program in 2021. Meanwhile, since August, you allowed reusable cups again in Europe, the Middle East and Africa – but not in Canada. Health experts have made clear that reusables are safe to use with basic sanitation systems in place. It’s time you stop producing billions of disposable cups and follow through on your green promises. Bring back reusables! Allow contactless coffee in your cafes in Canada and commit to offer reusable cup and container share programs in Canada. #WeWantReusable

Thank you for taking action today and feel free to share this blog with your friends and family to urge the coffee giants moving in the right direction!