Monday, February 24, 2014

Roll Up The Rim

It's that time of year again... Roll Up the Rim at Tim Horton's...  The bane of my coffee drinking existence as an environmentalist...

Many people, at least in northern BC, view Roll Up the Rim as one of the first signs of spring.  Sure.  By the time the contest is over each year, the snow is melting and all those "disposable" cups that didn't make it to a waste transfer station to decay surface from under their icy grave.  So yeah, I guess it's a sign that spring has arrived.

There are millions of prizes to be won. Millions of cups manufactured for this contest every year. 270,237,000 were made for the contest in 2007.  I imagine more were made each year since then. It just astounds me that in this time, when the world is trying to figure out how to mitigate climate change and other environmental impacts, there is a contest that encourages the use of "disposable" cups. 

Now, to be fair, you can participate in Roll Up the Rim to Win without actually getting a cup.  You can go to their website and play the online version where you spin a wheel.  They call it Roll Up Roulette. You get two chances to play each day with extra plays when you share it on Facebook or wherever.  I can't really see the distribution of prizes being fair between cups and the online version.  My guess is more of the big prizes are given out to rim-rollers. But there is a choice. 
You can, as I do, refuse the cup when they hand it to you with your filled reusable cup.  But be warned, they pretty much always look at you like you have two heads.  I use my travel mug as a way to reduce the amount of garbage and pollution from manufacturing.  And I don't intend to be wooed away from that principle by the chance at a 2014 Toyota Corolla (I have a 1988 Toyota Corolla that works just fine.  Sorta.).  A travel mug may affect the environment more than one "disposable" cup. But it only takes approximately 26 uses for that to become the reverse. (You know, depending on the mug you get - metal versus plastic, size, blah, blah, blah.)  If you get coffee every day, that is less than one month.  

I don't want to do the clich√© Tim Horton's versus Starbucks thing, but I'm going to. The Roll Up the Rim is not the only environmental issue I've had with them.  Whereas Starbucks actually makes Cold Cups.  Tim Horton's has, on multiple occasions, refused to use my reusable cold drink cup because of the special design of their cups to work with their machines.  Without that lip that the lid creates, the Iced Capp would spray everywhere when mixed.  Yet! They haven't jumped on the idea of creating a reusable version.  I have also written to them about making Iced Capp Cups.  I no longer even bother to bring one, as it never seems to make a difference anyway.  I now prefer to go get a screamer from Husky.  I can use my reusable cold drink cup there.  (I don't really care for Starbucks Frappuccinos.) 

I go to Tim Hortons.  Don't think I'm all Tim Hortons is EEEVVIIILLL DON'T BUY FROM THEM!! I own this very mug.  We go there occasionally for a nice outing.  Like I said earlier, I just refuse the Roll Up the Rim cup when they hand it to me.  I have, however, sent them a letter each year at this time of year encouraging them to find a better way to promote their products.  I always get a response that they "understand my concern" and they are "always looking for ways to help the environment". But no indication that this contest will stop any time soon.

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  1. Wow! 270 million? Cups? I can honestly say that have never "Rolled up the Rim". I do, however have to get better at taking my reusable cup with me - just in case. Great awareness piece. Now where do I send my letter?

  2. This link will bring you to their contact page. You can reach them via phone, fax, mail or an online contact form.