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Packaging & Recycling

Real Food, High Quality Ingredients

Moving from Single-Use to Reusable

To tackle the challenge of waste management, we strive to reduce packaging through reusable alternatives across our business on an ongoing basis.

In 1978, Tim Hortons pioneered the reusable cup program with the Tim-Mug. Today, guests who bring in a reusable cup continue to enjoy a discount on their coffee, while guests who dine in the restaurant are served their beverage in a china mug. As the coffee leader in Canada, Tim Hortons has taken a firm position on single use paper cups and will be executing a decade-long marketing effort to influence consumer behaviour and support the transition to reusable alternatives. Tim Hortons will also launch a refreshed reusable cup platform in 2020, making affordable reusable drinkware available for purchase in all standard restaurants across Canada.

Burger King Korea and Burger King India have also implemented a reusable cup system for in-store guests.


Sustainable Packaging Design

While we continue the journey of shifting guest behavior toward the use of reusable options, we know that we currently utilize traditional packaging across our brands. We are committed to making careful choices in materials and innovating in physical design in order to find solutions that are environmentally sound and still do the job of protecting the safety and quality of our products. We aim to minimize the resources and material inputs needed to package our products as well as the overall volume of packaging that needs to be disposed of by guests, while we also work to switch to more sustainable materials for existing packaging. By 2025, 100% of approved guest packaging will come from renewable1, recycled2 or certified3 sources.

Sourcing fiber-based materials from sustainably managed forests

We’re committed to sourcing fiber-based packaging from certified or recycled sources. Burger King and Tim Hortons achieved this goal globally in 2019. Popeyes shares this commitment and is working towards achieving this goal by 2021.

Increasing the use of recycled content

Currently, Tim Hortons is increasing the recycled content of their paper takeaway bags, so that multi-item paper bags in Canada will be made of 100% recycled fiber by early 2020. A more environmentally friendly paper cup that contains 30% post-consumer recycled content is also being tested at Tim Hortons Innovation Cafe.

Using materials that are easier to recycle

One of our waste reduction strategies is to serve guests the food they love in packaging that can be recycled in their local communities. One challenge we face is that some communities and regions lack the necessary facilities to be able to properly recycle all types of plastics. To tackle this challenge, Tim Hortons new hot beverage lid is now made from polypropylene, a material type that is 100% recyclable and accepted in 95% of curbside recycling programs across Canada.

Switching from single-use plastics

Tim Hortons has eliminated plastic straws for iced beverages across all restaurants in Canada, and will be doing so in the US by early 2020, with the introduction of a new strawless lid that uses 15% less plastic than the former lid and straw combination. The new strawless lid will remove 120 million straws from our supply chain every year. For guests who still require the use of a straw, paper straws are being tested as an alternative in British Columbia and at Tim Hortons Innovation Cafe. Tim Hortons will also be transitioning to wooden stir sticks across Canada by early 2020, which is expected to remove 186 million plastic stir sticks annually.

Burger King India has announced a 100% ban on single use plastics, and continues to use more environmentally friendly materials like bamboo for forks, spoons, and stirrers. Burger King Italy is currently testing the removal of cold beverage straws and lids for dine-in guests.

Globally, Burger King is also committed to completely phasing out non bio-degradable plastic toys from its system by the end of 2025. Burger King UK has already completely removed all plastic toys from its King Junior Meals, estimated to save 320 tonnes of single use plastic annually.

Removing foam

By 2021 we will phase out EPS foam from from all centrally managed, approved guest packaging globally and require that markets do not use EPS foam for any local guest packaging items. Tim Hortons approved packaging is already free from EPS foam, globally. Burger King expects to phase out EPS foam items globally by 2020.


Recovering and Recycling Resources

We are working with our guests as well as leaders in the recycling space to pilot and understand how we can repurpose our packaging materials – creating value and responsibly managing these resources. We aim to play a part in finding new homes for the materials to make sure there will always be someone to collect and recycle it.

We are committed to facilitate access to waste diversion, starting with recycling guest packaging in 100% of Burger King and Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada and the US by 2025.

Waste management is a complex and constantly evolving field, with variations in waste and recycling collection approaches between countries – and even between neighboring cities. This requires the consideration of several effective solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. We will work with communities, governments, and recycling facilities to advance progress in the area of waste collection, processing and diversion while seeking out new initiatives and more innovative ways for our packaging to flow through the system, avoid landfills, and limit our environmental impact.

As part of their initiative on phasing out non bio-degradable plastic toys, Burger King UK has asked guests to join its Meltdown in partnership with the world’s leading Circular Economy company, Pentatonic, and turn unwanted toys into something amazing. Meltdown will see plastic toy amnesty bins installed in every restaurant across the UK. People are invited to drop off their giveaway or free meal plastic toys and give them a new lease on life so they can be transformed into future interactive play opportunities for families at Burger King restaurants.


1 Renewable: Renewable Material that is composed of biomass from a living source and that can be continually replenished. ISO 14021:2016 “renewable” and “recycled” material; for plastic, ASTM 6866 or ISO 16620-2. Renewable applies to plastics only, not fiber.

2 Recycled: Material that has been reprocessed from recovered [reclaimed] material by means of a manufacturing process and made into a final product or into a component for incorporation into a product. [ISO 14021:2016 “renewable” and “recycled” material.] Recycled material applies to plastics and fiber. Fiber-based packaging made from 100% recycled content must be third-party verified, unless certified under a Chain of Custody forest management standard.

3 Certified: Specifically, all guest packaging items (including hot cups, cold cups, carry-out bags, folding cartons, clamshells, wraps, food service bags, napkins, drink carriers) made from paper/ board sold to Restaurant Brands International brands globally must be certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). FSC is required when fiber is sourced from the following high deforestation risk countries: Russia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Argentina by 2021.

4 In countries where supply is commercially viable

As one of Canada’s most iconic brands, we’re proud to be part of the daily rituals of millions of people across the country and around the world. Serving them with care means we have a responsibility to do our part to improve the planet and to continue to support the communities we are involved in.

Matt Banton

Head of Innovation, Tim Hortons