Idle Waste

You may have guessed it, but this week’s comics touched a little on one of my own pet-causes for Earth week. I have a big beef with the most popular marketing strategy of that most treasured of Canadian, fast food icons. Since I don’t want to get sued we’ll call it “Jim Norton’s” (they’ll be none the wiser).

Norton’s head office had been getting email complaints from me for years.

To be fair, and at the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I’m quite possibly the only Canadian in the world who thinks Norton’s coffee is really gross. I’m not exaggerating either, for some reason my people are savagely drawn to that stuff. If there’s ever a zombie apocalypse in Canada, there’ll be millions of touque-topped, plaid-clad, shambling corpses unstoppably drawn to the nearest franchise moaning “double double”.

But, my issue here isn’t with the product, it’s with the contest. The one where they put the prize amounts under the rim of the cups, you roll it up and win a donut, car, TV or whatever. Every year garbage and recycling bins are overflowing with coffee cups that end up bouncing down the streets, assuming they’re not carelessly discarded there to begin with. When confronted with this a few years back, an executive at Norton’s responded, “We are not a waste management company”.

“We are not a waste management company”, shocked me. Norton’s has been huge in community leadership for as long as I can remember. Ok, they’re not responsible for what people do with their garbage, but this was the coming from the company that first started discounting coffee if you brought in your own mugs!

Although I’m not going to thump my chest and holler “boycott”, I encourage everyone to opt out of these games. Recyclable or not, I’m guessing it’s probably better if we don’t create the waste to begin with.

Lastly, I have a problem with the drive-thru. Not just at Norton’s, any drive-thru. Come to think of it, I’m surprised there aren’t more bylaws prohibiting these things considering how long cars are idling in line, sometimes right out into the streets.

If Canadian motorists avoided unnecessary idling for just three minutes every day of the year, it would prevent 630 million litres of fuel from being wasted and 1.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being needlessly pumped into the environment. Annually, that would be the equivalent of taking 320,000 cars off of the road!*
Every 10 minutes of idling costs you about a fifth of a litre in waste fuel (more if your vehicle has an eight-cylinder engine). Ten seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off your engine and restarting it.**

Save your gas and your time! More often than not, you can actually park, go in, order, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, get your food and be on your way before the third car in line has even ordered.


*Sourced from, Natural Resources Canada
**Sourced from, Clearing the Air on Car Idling

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