Toronto Tim Hortons going green with brown cups

TORONTO (Reuters) - Tim Hortons Inc plans to step up its environmental efforts by setting up recycling bins for the millions of paper coffee cups and other waste the restaurant chain produces every day.

A customer buys coffee and Timbits at a Tim Hortons coffee outlet at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary March 24, 2006. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski

The decision to crank up the coffee and doughnut chain’s green program comes as the city of Toronto moves to crack down on food packaging that ends up in its landfill sites.

Tim Hortons sells millions of cups of coffee across Canada every day and holds an estimated 80 percent share of the national coffee market.

Under a recycling plan unveiled on Monday, the company will offer recycling bins for paper, cans and bottles.

The coffee cups will be recycled into roofing paper or cardboard boxes.

Tim Hortons also hopes the move will help placate critics who say it is a major source of garbage, with its ubiquitous brown coffee cups and plastic lids shipped to landfill sites -- or found littering the streets.

The company’s previous waste-handling facilities did not accept the cups and lids.

Tim Hortons representatives were not immediately available for comment. It was not known whether the company would extend the new program nationally.

Later on Tuesday Toronto is expected to unveil its new waste-handling plan, aimed at diverting waste away from landfill sites, including a deposit-return system.

($1=$1.15 Canadian)

Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson