Moving from bin to bin, Mike Leland’s bike tows his customized cart, which is tailor-made for binning, but it hasn’t always been so easy.
“I’ve spent an hour before I’ve even left to go on my route looking for a cart down here, unless you walk over to the depot,” he said. “What we’re hoping [is] to be able to set carts up where people can have that access and go get it.”
Leland is the project outreach coordinator for The Binners’ Project, a group working to de-stigmatize glass and bottle collection among Vancouver’s low-income population. Their latest initiative is a cart-sharing pilot project where light and sturdy shopping carts would be available for short-term rentals.
“It would allow binners to go through their trap lines, make more income, do it in a healthy, safer way and without having to rely on shopping carts from our grocery stores,” Gabby Korcheva, programs manager for The Binners’ Project, said.
WATCH: A look at The Binners’ Project
The set-up would be similar to Vancouver’s Mobi bike-share program. There would be two rental stations: one in the Downtown Eastside, where binners would
probably be starting their workday, and a second by a bottle recycling depot, where their day would end.
Leland says cart-sharing could be a game-changer.
“It’s the difference between $5 and $50,” Leland said.
City councillor Andrea Reimer hopes Vancouverites will change their perspective on those who choose to bin.
“For those who haven’t been homeless or who have other kinds of careers that they’ve chosen, it’s hard for them to imagine this kind of work,” she said.
“People are choosing to be empowered to help us with what is an environmental problem… and it’s a job with dignity.”
The plan is to charge a small, refundable deposit that would encourage cart returns.
If approved, the $75,000 pilot project would run for one year.
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