Who's this Tim Horton that Burger King is buying and why should I care?

tim and store
CC BY 2.0 Tim Horton and typical store/ Wikipedia

It's in all the news: Burger King is merging with Canada's huge coffee chain Tim Horton's and moving its head office north to chase a lower tax rate. Timmy's are big in Canada; they pour 80% of the coffee sold in the country and have thousands of stores. When they come into town, usually on the outskirts near the highways, every coffee shop on Main Street shuts down. They are a cultural phenomenon; the government even shipped one to Afghanistan to boost troop morale. Because of their size, their environmental impact is huge and attracts a lot attention.

Timmy's started in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964 as a doughnut shop; Tim Horton himself died in 1974 when he lost control of his De Tomaso Pantera sports car; His partner, Ron Joyce, expanded the company without him, to where it now has over 4,000 stores and is to coffee in Canada what Walmart is to shopping, the dominant player who affects everything. That's why there have been so many posts on TreeHugger about them. Here's a roundup:

Did the Tim Horton's coffee chain really "close the loop" with coffee cups?

Toronto City Life/CC BY 2.0

Tim Horton calls turning coffee cups into take out trays "cradle to cradle" recycling. Why it's not.

Tim Horton's sells 80% of the coffee in Canada. Its empty cups litter the highways. The City of Toronto alone has to deal with 365 million empty cups in its garbage stream every year. The amount of CO2 and other pollutants generated by pickups idling in the drive-through lane is probably equivalent to a couple of city's worth of traffic.... More in TreeHugger

This is Earth Day: Celebrating opening of a LEED Certified Drive-thru coffee shop

Tim Hortons/Promo image

On the ludicrousness of calling a drive-through restaurant green.

An Edmonton study showed how customers idling while they wait at a single store wasted 158,784 litres of fuel and contributed 385,902 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions. How could such a thing, that fundamentally encourages the waste of gasoline, possibly be considered green? More in TreeHugger

Here's one way to kill drive-throughs: enforce the idling ban.

© Ian Hardy, who runs a website devoted to Tim Hortons

The lineups at the Tim Horton's drive-throughs are huge, and in the City of Mississauga, idling your car is illegal. What to do?

The mayor told Mississauga city council she opposes them for three reasons: the pollution caused by idling; traffic problems, particularly during rush hour when lineups spill into turning lanes; and the routine violation of a city bylaw that prohibits idling for more than three minutes. More in TreeHugger

More tales of Timmy

Tim Hortons Crawl...errr...um....Drive Thru/ Jeff M for Short/CC BY 2.0

People are slobs. I once walked down a stretch of Ontario highway and counted the Tim Hortons coffee cups in the ditch by the side of the road. and found that they averaged one every twelve feet . Just outside of one of its most popular stores on a major highway, I found that they clean their parking lot, but that as far as they are concerned, their work stopped at the curb. I though that it was Time For Canadians to Boycott Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons on the Rocks/ Chaf.Haddad on Flickr/CC BY 2.0

In the City of Toronto, Councillor Gord Perks complained that almost half of the garbage that the city picked up in its parks was Tim Horton's stuff, and it was time to stop having taxpayers pay for what should be a producer responsibility.

The city of Toronto, both in households, in street cleaning and in our parks, is paying for the fact the province will not regulate packaging and will not make the manufacturers and producers of that waste pay the cost of cleaning it up – which means the property taxpayer has to pay for it (and) we have to spend precious dollars from our parks department.

Tim Horton had plastic lids that made the paper cups unrecyclable. Perks demanded that Timmy's change their lids, but the business community was outraged and he got checked into submission.

Timmy at the beach/ Martin Cathrae on Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The city and the nation is awash in Tim Horton's waste. This issue got me started on what I still think is a good idea: It's Time for Deposits. On Everything. There is so much of the stuff that some engineers wondered Can You Run a Car on Tim Hortons Coffee? by turning their garbage into ethanol.

Tags: Canada | Coffee

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