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My faith compelled me to give up my morning Tim Hortons habit

This writer says a nudging in her spirit persuaded her to come up with a different ritual.

By Brianna Bell

Every morning I wake up, bleary-eyed and in desperate need of caffeine. I stumble downstairs and make breakfast for my two daughters, ages four and six, while I balance my one-year-old on my hip. After I’ve dropped the two older ones off at school, I drive to the closest Tim Hortons, pulling up to accept my morning steeped tea while greeting the familiar face through the window.

Cracking open the plastic lid is a quiet and solemn ritual. I inhale the familiar scent, and as soon as the first drop hits my tongue, I feel a sense of relief and comfort. On cold days, the hot cup warms my hands. Some days I can’t even wait to drive home, I just sit in the parking lot while my youngest daughter babbles to herself from her car seat, enjoying the first quiet moment of the day.

I’m a committed tea drinker because I don’t like the taste of coffee. I discovered steeped tea at Tim Hortons and quickly became hooked, falling in love with the flavour and heavy punch of caffeine. Over the years, I’ve tried to cut out my Tim Hortons addiction, but after the headaches and withdrawal, I end up crawling back to my familiar and comforting routine.

Earlier this month, CBC News published an article that listed Tim Hortons as a top plastic polluter in Canada. Seeing a photo of the familiar red cup, my cup, sitting on top of a pile of garbage made my stomach churn in discomfort.

According to the story, Tim Hortons products were one of the top waste items collected during a Greenpeace-organized event on World Clean-Up Day. Volunteers picked up 10,000 litres of food wrappers at various points across Canada, and each item was audited by brand. Brands that were identified as top pollutants included Nestlé, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks.

My literal cups aren’t the ones found littered on beaches or in parks, but my actions are still contributing to the issue. I often find stacks of Tim Hortons garbage in my recycling bin, and seeing the cups made me realize how wasteful I have been. Not all residential recycling programs accept Tim Hortons waste, even if mine does. And isn’t the first rule of waste management to reduce, reuse, and then recycle?

It was the nudging in my spirit that really confirmed that I needed to change my habits, however comforting they were to me. As a Christian, how could I claim to be a good steward of the earth if I continued to produce daily and unnecessary waste? Not to mention how much money I was wasting on my morning habit, money that could be used to support my local food bank or sponsor a child overseas.

To adjust my routine without bringing back the headaches, I decided to find a tea at the grocery store with enough caffeine, and that’s when I found Tazo Awake English Breakfast Tea. Now, I wake up each morning and steep my own cup of tea in a ceramic mug, taking a few quiet moments to myself before the kids wake up.


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