Companies pause use of reusable cups, containers over COVID-19 concerns
(HO-Amanda Palmer/The Canadian Press)
WINNIPEG -- A number of well-known companies are temporarily stopping the use of reusable cups and containers at their establishments due to concerns over COVID-19.
One of these businesses is Bulk Barn, which is pausing its reusable container program due to concerns over COVID-19.
The program allows customers to bring in their own reusable containers, as opposed to what’s offered at the store in order to cut down on waste. In a statement, the company said the service already has “very high standards,” which include the need for people to properly clean the containers before they can use them in the stores.
“However, out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19 uncertainties, we have determined that it is appropriate at this point to be extra vigilant and to pause this program for the current time,” the statement said.
If someone brings a reusable container into a Bulk Barn, the store will still honour any promotions, but the containers can’t be used in the store.
Bulk Barn apologizes to its customers for any inconvenience this could cause.
“We will continue to be vigilant in our monitoring of events, with a focus on the health and well-being of our customers, associates, and employees,” the store said.
Three popular coffee chains have also decided to stop serving drinks in reusable cups brought in by their customers.
Starbucks, The Second Cup Ltd. and Tim Hortons said they are temporarily pausing this initiative.
Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice-president and president of U.S. company-operated business in Canada, published an open letter to the company’s website saying they will take “precautionary steps” in response to the coronavirus outbreak. This includes not serving drinks in personal cups or in-store mugs.
Starbucks is also elevating its regular cleaning practices, modifying or postponing large meetings, providing employees info on how to respond to suspected cases of coronavirus, and restricting business-related air travel.
Second Cup has temporarily stopped allowing personal-cup use, but will still serve drinks in ceramic mugs for in-store use. The coffee chain has also increased the amount of times its stores are cleaned every day.
Both Starbucks and Second Cup will still honour any associated discounts.
In a press release, Tim Hortons said health officials have not recommended changes to their current procedures, but will pause on accepting reusable cups after listening to restaurant owners and guests.
“We are continuing to reinforce proper health and sanitization procedures at restaurants and our supply chain is sourcing extra gloves, hand sanitization gel and other essential cleaning materials should we need them in the coming months.”
- With files from CTV’s Cillian O’Brien and The Canadian’s Press’ Aleksandra Sagan.