News / Vancouver

Vancouverites to create ‘binner box’ to improve working conditions

A group of Strathcona residents and binners is creating a special binner box so binners don’t have to rifle through trashcans and recycling bins in alleys.

The original prototype of the binner box, where residents could place bottles to make it easier for binners to collect.

The Binners’ Project/Contributed

The original prototype of the binner box, where residents could place bottles to make it easier for binners to collect.

A group of Vancouverites wants to improve working conditions for residents who collect cans and bottles from back alleys across the city by creating some sort of binner box.

Strathcona residents and binners held a meeting Tuesday night to brainstorm a prototype for a receptacle that could minimize the amount of dumpster diving required for those who eke out a living by filtering through trashcans and recycling bins for containers worth a few dimes.

The purpose of a binner box is for residents to be able to donate their bottles and cans directly to binners instead of putting them in locked bins.

“The box hopefully will allow them to bin quicker so they don’t have to go through the entire blue bin,” said Anna Godefroy, director of the Binners’ Project.

“I’m hoping it will be a safer way as binning as well, so they don’t have to go through general waste.”

The project was initiated by Ken Lyotier, a binner and founder of Downtown Eastside bottle depot United We Can. The goal is to create something that’s easy for residents to adopt that makes it more dignified for the binners competing for bottles, Godefroy said.

“They really live on the edge of society,” she said. “There’s a really limited amount of money you can make in binning.”

At the meeting, local binners, designers from Basic Design and the team from the Binners’ Project (a part of Tides Canada) agreed some sort of hook where people could hang bags full of empty containers might be more viable than the original idea of a wooden box.

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