a&w cup

Toronto just got weird-looking coffee cups and people are already complaining

The planet is dying, and it's a problem. But fast food is delicious and convenient, and what, do you really expect us to give up our guilty pleasures?

Of course not. But one fast-food giant thinks it has an unconventional solution to the estimated five billion single-use coffee cups that end up in Canadian landfills each year, making a trip to the local drive-thru a little less damaging to the planet. Emphasis on a little.

Launched on Monday at participating restaurants across Toronto, A&W's admittedly odd-looking Zero Cup (they use adjectives like "weird" and "strange" so we aren't putting words in anyone's mouth here) is a lid- and straw-free container that removes plastic from the equation entirely.

Unlike traditional paper fast food coffee cups, this new design from UK-based ButterflyCup has no plastic lining. It's made entirely out of fully compostable and recyclable paper. A&W is the first major brand in North America to use this design.

"Each year, A&W Canada serves millions of takeout drinks, so finding a more sustainable single-use cup solution is one way we can make a big difference," says Susan Senecal, President & CEO of A&W Canada.

But is this new idea going to stick? Practically nobody has tried out the new Zero Cup, but that hasn't stopped the Twitterati from chiming in about what they don't like about the eco-friendly vessels.

The cups apparently feature a liner made of a water-based material that prevents leaks, but one commenter worries that it will be the same 'drink fast or risk soggy paper' situation we've all come to associate with paper straws.

A few have voiced concerns about keeping hot drinks in the unconventional lid-less cup.

It seems despite the very clear message that these cups are designed to hold coffee, more than just a few people seem to think this looks like a method of serving french fries. One guy who missed the memo complained that this will translate to smaller fry portions.

Drinking out of an entirely cardboard container may feel like a bit of a throwback to the grade school days for some.

They may not be everyone's cup of tea/coffee, but anyone passing through the Evergreen Brickworks on Mar. 25 and 26 who actually wants to try the cups for themselves can check them out at a temporary A&W-run installation called Tomorrow Cafe.

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