Restaurant Brands International Inc.’s (QSR.TO) Tim Hortons is looking to tackle two of the nation’s largest problems: the buildups of both plastic in landfills and hot coffee spilling on customers’ laps.

The coffee-and-doughnut chain is unveiling a new coffee cup with a specially-designed lid aimed at reducing the spills plaguing white-shirted morning commuters and pothole-braving drivers. The new lid – embossed with a maple leaf – features a raised dome with a tabbed opening that will improve the flow of coffee from the cup, the company claims.

Tim Hortons’ previous lids have been in use for over 20 years with no changes, although customers often complained about leaks and spills. The company tested its lids in several locations since August and plans to expand its new “coffee cup technology” to the U.S. and other countries later, a spokesperson said.

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Tim Hortons has redesigned its lids. (Handout)

The coffee empire is also making an effort to minimize its environmental footprint following an audit led by Greenpeace Canada in October that identified Tim Hortons as one of Canada’s top plastics polluters.

The company plans to introduce strawless lids for iced coffee cups, wooden stir sticks and is also testing more environmentally-friendly paper cups. The current paper cup design is coated with a plastic laminate, which is difficult to recycle and is one of the most commonly littered items in Canada. Tim Hortons also announced initiatives to change consumer behaviour to decrease the use of single-use paper cups, although the company hasn’t specified what those plans are.

Tim Hortons’ changes to its cups, lids and other items come after it announced plans to revamp its popular “Roll Up the Rim” promotion after its poor performance was partly blamed for sluggish sales numbers in the first fiscal quarter of 2019.  

The company is likely looking to burnish its reputation after a long battle with many of its franchise owners that resulted in settlements of two class-action lawsuits. The franchisees took issue with Tim Hortons and its parent company over cost cutting measures and advertising fund mismanagement.