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Tim Horton's Roll up the Rim campaign kicks off amid growing calls for environmental reboot

Last Updated Feb 6, 2019 at 6:41 pm PDT

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You could call it one of the most iconic Canadian marketing campaigns of all time. However, there are growing calls for Tim Horton’s to think more green when it comes to “rolling up the rim”.

“Tim Horton’s Roll Up The Rim To Win, which starts February 6, has been around for 33 years, an incredible run, and one of the most successful promotional campaigns in Canadian history,” Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and police at Dalhousie University, said in a release.

“But soon, the campaign may need to change.”

The campaign revolves around the physicality of the cup, he points out, with hundreds of millions of the iconic red cups made each year. But there were no recycling programs back when the campaign launched in 1986, and things have changed since that time.

Charlebois points out hardly a day goes by without a story on garbage, plastic, or unsustainable food practices, and argues there’s now a difference in how society values the concept of a circular economy.

Roll up the Rim has been one of the country’s most successful promotional campaigns of all time, but he says the time has come for the company to rethink things.

Younger Canadians are increasingly expecting restaurants to move away from unsustainable practices, he adds.

He’s also not the only one calling for change — three Calgary students are behind an online petition calling on Tim Horton’s to bring the whole thing online.

The students propose digitizing the campaign to allow people to go online and use their own refillable cups.

“We see so many people buy coffee at Tim Horton’s every day and we also see their cups littering the streets and in the garbage,” the petition reads. “It is estimated that a total 600 billion single-use cups wind up in landfills each year. Our planet and our oceans can’t take any more waste! We think it’s time for Tim Horton’s to join the movement towards a more sustainable future.”

However, some critics argue doing so would take away from the spirit behind it, where friends and coworkers gather and chat over that double double to see who won a car, cash, or even just another coffee.