This week, the United Nations released a grim report on Earth's climate future.
The announcement stated that unless the countries of the world can agree on immediate, radical action to address pollution, humanity has little hope.
TL;DR Greenpeace named Tim Hortons and McDonald's products the #2 and #5 contributors, respectively, to plastic waste in Canada.
While the UN commission focused specifically on carbon pollution in the atmosphere, for many, it was also a call to action to address another insidious polluter: plastic.
Countries and municipalities around the world have already banned plastic bags and straws, some of the most common items that litter Earth's oceans and threaten wildlife.
But, of course, plastic persists as one of the most popular materials in the world and specifically among food retailers.
Greenpeace Canada has decided to take a stand by calling out the companies whose products acocunt for the majority of plastic waste in Canada.
The top five polluting companies, in order: Nestlé, Tim Hortons, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald's.
Canadians will, of course, react most strongly to Tim Horton's second place ranking on this list. The once-Canadian company has suffered several setbacks this past year, including labour disputes, conflicts with franchisees, and unpopular new products.
In the words of the author of the Greenpeace report:"it’s impossible to count the number of Timmy Ho coffee cups or lids I have seen or picked up along a highway, in a park, on a beach or along a river. So it’s no wonder that the prevalence of these cups at our cleanup and audit locations landed this company in the second top polluter spot in Canada."
While the beleaguered company will always hold a special place in the hearts of Canadians, it will need to overhaul its public image, waste management, and customer service to reclaim the reverence it once commanded across the country.
Tim Hortons should immediately take action to reduce its plastic footprint by promoting reusable cups, eliminating straws, and exploring other materials for customers to carry coffee.
Canadians, meanwhile, should never, ever, litter plastic cups or lids.
Tim Hortons has released this official response: "As one of Canada’s most popular restaurant chains, we recognize we all have a responsibility to limit the environmental impact we have on our planet. That’s why Tim Hortons is actively working on a packaging strategy that includes the function, design and environmental footprint."