Yesterday morning I took my environmentally friendly reusable coffee mug, the nice black one I'd gotten from the Dalhousie University bookstore back in November, up to the Tim Hortons in the student center of McMaster.
Pleased with myself that I'd remembered to retrieve the reusable cup -- not just because it would save me ten cents off the purchase of my coffee, but also knowing that I would not be contributing another coffee cup to environmental waste -- I got into line and noticed that it was Roll Up The Rim To Win time again at Tim Hortons.
I needn't explain this phenomenal to any Canadians out there -- at least not to any Canadians who haven't been living in a cave, or under a rock for the past twenty years -- but to my foreign readers, "Roll up the rim to win" is a campaign run by Tim Hortons where there are a number of big ticket and thousands of "free coffee" and "free donut" prizes and countless number of "PLEASE TRY AGAINS" hidden under the rim.
Of course, my selfish nature immediately took over. After all, I didn't want to miss out on a chance to win a new Toyota, expensive speedboat or one of thousands of reloadable gift cards.
So, I abandoned my environmentally friendly intension, and bought an extra large double double in one of the "Roll up the Rim" disposable coffee cups.
I didn't win. Neither did the environment.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm a HUGE fan of Tim Hortons. Given a choice, I'll pick their coffee over any other, hands down. (Like many other Canadians, I have a bizarre addiction to it) But I wish that they would come up with some sort of way for people to participate in their "Roll up the Rim to win" contest WITHOUT having to throw away an entire cup. Perhaps a really tiny tear open 100% recycleable card no bigger than a business card? I know, I know, it defeats the whole purpose and the catchy marketing phrase that rolls off the tongues of Canadians quite wonderfully. But you've got to think SOMETHING could be done to keep a fun contest AND reduce the waste.
For example, I'd love to see an ongoing year-round marketing campaign where people who buy a Timmies coffee using any sort of reusable coffee mug (saving Tim's money AND helping the enviroment) automatically get entered in a draw to win some fun prizes. Without wasting paper, it could be administered as simple as swiping one of the environmentally friendly "Quickpay" reloadable Tim Hortons gift cards that have replaced the paper gift certificates (especially since you can register your gift card online). Just a thought, and perhaps not the craziest idea that has been tossed out.
For fun (and with a note about reducing waste), I found the following video a web site entitled How To Roll Up The Rim and support the environment. It's cute and does pay attention to the "please don't litter" concept that I'm sad to see violated way too often by people far too intelligent and who should know better. They also link to Tree Canada where you can get more information about doing your part for the trees.