Brewing Up Change at Your Coffee Chain

This summer, while walking down Highway 35 into Minden, Ontario, I paced out the distance between pieces of garbage in the ditch beside the road; it averaged about 12 feet. Fully half of the garbage was from Tim Horton's, Canada's hugely dominant coffee chain.

Adria Vasil of Ecoholic fame writes in Now Magazine that all of the coffee chains have ecological issues, but at least Starbucks is the largest purchaser of Fair Trade coffee in America, and that it also leads with 10% recycled content in its cups, but says "come on, the non-fat latte pushers can do better than that. No doubt all those pulp-and-paper-mill-owned coffee cup suppliers aren't too keen on putting out a truly virgin-pulp-free cup, but a mega-chain like Starbucks certainly has the power to push for one. Why not call Starbucks' consumer relations line and tell them?"

Adria sez: 1) bring a mug; 2) grab your cream or milk from the big container, not the little individual creamers; 3) lose the stir stick, ask for a spoon; and most importantly, 4) don't use the drive-in window. a recent study found that in Edmonton alone, drivers spend a whopping 5,000 hours idling in Tim Hortons drive-thrus while waiting for their double-doubles and Boston Cremes, choking out about 23.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases. Per day. ::Now Magazine

Tags: Canada | Coffee | Fair Trade

Best of TreeHugger