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Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Tim Hortons is concerned customers don't have enough time to properly sort their garbage into bins placed alongside drive-through lanes, so it has taken the trash cans away.

In a move that has raised the ire of some customers, Tim Hortons removed waste and recycling bins from its drive-throughs this month.

"The recent changes we've made to the placement of our exterior waste and recycling units are meant to improve the accuracy and efficiency of our waste diversion programs," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "Our goal with the new waste and recycling unit locations is to provide our guests with enough time to sort materials into the appropriate compartments, which can be difficult in a quick-moving drive-through lane."

Customers have been condemning the move on social media, saying it is inconvenient and irresponsible of the coffee and doughnut chain to not provide garbage cans. Some have posted photos of piles of coffee cups littering the ground where drive-through waste bins once stood.

Diane Beckett, interim executive director of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, said the decision appears to be in keeping with the company's "culture of waste," including its Roll Up the Rim to Win contest, which encourages the use of its ubiquitous disposable cups, and a pilot project that removed china mugs from some locations.

"Tim Hortons markets itself as Canada's community coffee shop, and it no longer is. And when it's making cutbacks in sustainability and taking away the garbage and the recycling containers outside drive-throughs, it certainly is becoming less and less of a good corporate citizen," Ms. Beckett said.

Tim Hortons said it made the decision, which came into effect across the country on May 2, in collaboration with franchise owners. The company says at least two waste and recycling bins are still required outside each restaurant, with one "in a visible/accessible area near the drive-through."