Starbucks Eyes Up Tim Hortons’ Cup-to-Tray Technology

by | Nov 29, 2011

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Starbucks has expressed an interest in the technique that Canadian chain Tim Hortons is using to recycle its hot beverage cups into take-out trays, Waste & Recycling News reports.

Dwight Whynot, president of Scotia Recycling, which is working with Tim Hortons on the project, says he got a call from the American coffee giant. Starbucks. The U.S. chain is looking for a way to recycle its polyethylene-lined paper cups by 2015.

One year ago, Starbucks, International Paper and Mississippi River Pulp announced the completion of a pilot project proving that Starbucks used paper cups can be recycled into new paper cups. Starbucks also said it is collecting paper cups at 86 of its Manhattan stores to determine whether they can be recycled into bath tissue and paper towels.

But the company has also reported obstacles on the way to its recycling goals. Only five percent of U.S. and Canadian Starbucks locations offer front-of-store recycling. The firm says that most communities do not have the infrastructure in place to handle collection, hauling, and processing of its cups, due to a lack of demand for cup material by the recycling industry.

Tim Hortons, meanwhile, has started recycling cups into trays at 28 restaurants in Newfoundland and Labrador. Scotia Recycling breaks down the cup and liner – often the most challenging part of the cup recycling process – and sends the resulting paper bales on to paper product manufacturer CKF.

Whynot said every restaurant uses a slightly different cup, so the liner separation process that Tim Hortons uses may not have direct applicability to Starbucks.

Tim Hortons plans to expand across Newfoundland and into New Brunswick next year.

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