Paper cups are out, reusable cups are in

Tim Hortons now accepts personal mugs as COVID-19 protocols come to an end


By Kenneth Wong

Starting April 6, guests at Tim Hortons will receive a 10-cent discount on beverages if they bring a cup from home. Select Tim Hortons restaurants will be reintroducing reusable in-restaurant mugs, plates and cutlery to serve customers.

For the first time, guests will also be able to order cold beverages in their reusable cups.

Out with COVID-19 restrictions

Tim Hortons stopped accepting reusable cups during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and safety of employees and customers.

But the pandemic restrictions created enormous amounts of waste. In 2019, when the coffee shop franchise allowed customers to use their own cups, it reduced usage of single-use cups by 15 million.

Many Tim Hortons customers at the Langara cafeteria like the initiative but are unsure how effective this change will be.

“I think it’s good, it provides awareness because more students are on a budget so it’s good, but also because of the environment,” said Langara student Mafer Garcia. “There’s more people that are environment conscious and bringing their own mugs but sometimes you’re in a rush in the morning you just bring your bag and forget about it.”

Langara student Gen Aiba is concerned that students won’t be able to bring their own cups as they have to manage the limited space in their bags.

“I can’t, I have to save my space for my backpack, it’s also limited it as well.”

To maintain health and safety standards, Tim Hortons will not be serving guests with cracks or visible damage on their mugs.

New cups bring potential rewards

Langara student Dhairya Joshi thinks the franchise needs to give more incentive for customers to bring their own cups.

“Maybe they could start a promotion or give out free rewards, like free coffee and stuff, if they’re bringing their own cups,” Joshi said. “Once they start getting rewards [people will bring their own cups], like free coffee, why not?”

Guests will also soon be able to use the company app to order ahead and let the restaurant know they will be bringing their own cup. Team members will prepare their beverage in a clean reusable cup then transfer the contents to the guest’s cup.

“We’ve been looking forward to accepting reusable cups in restaurants again and have been working hard with Tim’s restaurant owners to ensure we do so safely and consistently,” said Paul Yang, Senior Director of Innovation and Sustainability for Tim Hortons, in a press release.

An employee of Tim Hortons located at Fraser Street and 43rd Avenue emphasized that hygiene remains a top priority for the franchise.

“That’s one thing we’re looking at closely, getting rid of exposure to anything COVID related,” he said.


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