Roll Up the Rim to a greener future: Kids petition Tim Hortons to change

Story by CBC Kids News • 2019-02-06 15:58

Petition calls on Tim Hortons to design new cups, new contest

Forget free cars, free money or free food.

Three Calgary kids are hoping their next Roll Up the Rim prize will be a greener planet.

Mya Chau, Eve Helman and Ben Duthie are behind a petition that calls on Tim Hortons to design a new cup that’s better for the environment.

Right now, many of their disposable cups "are going into the landfills and affecting the environment,” Helman said.

The kids also want the coffee chain to consider making changes to its annual Roll Up the Rim to Win contest as a way to encourage less waste.

While making changes to the popular contest would probably be a challenge for the company, “I think it’s certainly possible,” Duthie said.

More than 100,000 people had signed their online petition as of Feb. 6.

The details

In theory, Tim Hortons’ plastic-lined cups can be recycled, but many cities and towns don’t have the special equipment required to do it.

Chau and Helman said Tim Hortons should switch to cups that can be fully recycled or composted in most places.

They also said Tim Hortons needs to find new ways to encourage people to use reusable mugs.

Modernizing the Roll Up the Rim to Win contest might be a way to do that, they said.

Hands roll up rim of cup to reveal message that says Please Play Again.

Tim Hortons’ annual Roll Up the Rim to Win contest launched this year on Feb. 6. (Tim Hortons)

Tim Hortons could move the entire contest online, Chau and Helman said, and give people with reusable mugs two chances to play, instead of just one.

They also suggested using stickers instead of cups, or a receipt that customers could scan.

Here they are sharing some of their Roll Up the Rim ideas with CBC Radio host David Gray on Feb. 4.

Tim Hortons responds

Jane Almeida, a spokesperson for Restaurant Brands International, which owns Tim Hortons, said the company is working on a new, environmentally friendly packaging strategy.

She didn’t say whether that might include new cups or a new Roll Up the Rim contest.

Tim Hortons introduced a Scroll Up the Rim to Win contest on its mobile app in 2018, but the prizes were limited to coffee and doughnuts — no cars.

Three kids in red T-shirts stand in front of a coffee shop and point to the Tim Hortons sign.

Mya Chau, left, Ben Duthie, centre, and Eve Helman say Tim Hortons should design a cup that can be easily recycled or composted in most places. (

The backstory

The kids have a pretty good track record when it comes to encouraging companies to go green.

In March 2018, Chau and Helman met with the CEO of Starbucks following the launch of a #BetterCup petition, which got more than 350,000 signatures.

Afterward, Starbucks announced a $10 million US project to develop recyclable, compostable cups.

That same year, almost 150,000 people signed Duthie’s petition calling on Starbucks to get rid of plastic straws.

In July 2018, the company announced it would phase out plastic straws by 2020.

Two girls in T-shirts stand with man in collared shirt.

In 2018, Eve Helman, left, and Mya Chau, centre, met with Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. (Submitted by Eve Helman and Mya Chau)

With files from Canadian Press

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