Tim Hortons announced Thursday that its disposable cups can be now recycled and will be made into take-out trays for the popular coffee chain.
"We really felt it was our responsibility to look after the product even though we're not the ones throwing it on the ground," said Greg Smith, senior manager of regional marketing for Atlantic Canadian Tim Hortons.
A new program will send used cups to Scotia Recycling where they will be sorted and compacted.
Next the bales are delivered to paper product manufacturer CKF, where they will be turned into take-out trays and sold back to Tim Hortons.
"Our customers want to do the right thing and if we help them to do the right thing, if we help give them education and make it easy for them, they'll do the right thing," Smith said.
There's just one catch — the only place to recycle a cup is at Tim Hortons.
"I would definitely save them and then next time I'm in a Tims, I would definitely take them in," customer Monica Munro said.
"If it's convenient I'll make that extra effort, but if it's in the office, I'm probably not going to drag it down the street with me," Richard Jordan said.
"I'm usually an eat-in customer, so I have no problem, I usually dump it in the recycle bin before I leave," said Mark Hartlen, a regular customer.
There's an exception in Yarmouth County and Digby County, where the cups get picked up at the side of the curb.
"We have some serious Tim Hortons addictions in our area, and very little competition from other outlets, so yes, we see quite a few Tim Hortons cups being recycled," Gus Green, manager of Western Region Solid Waste, said with a smile.
Why not in Halifax?
'There's a film of plastic inside the two layers of paper on the hot cups, and so that contaminates the paper so that would reduce our market," said Gordon Helm, manager of Solid Waste Resources for HRM.
"If you choose to put the Tim Hortons cups into your fibre stream with your newspapers and what have you, you are limited in where you can sell that product as a recycler," he said.
All of the 156 Tim Hortons across the province will participate in the program.
New Brunswick is expected to get the program next year, and P.E.I. already composts its paper packaging.