To Mayor Basran & Kelowna City Council:
Kelowna City Council is in the process of passing changes to a bylaw that would prohibit residents from donating bottles and cans to binners near a local bottle depot.
People who collect bottles and cans for a living, also known as binners on the west coast, positively contribute to our environment by diverting a considerable amount of waste from landfills. In Vancouver, a bottle depot that is frequented mostly by binners collects approximately 60,000 refundable containers per day. The vast majority of these bottles and cans are picked out of street trash cans or given to/left for binners by people who will not themselves recycle the containers.
In Vancouver, although there is still a lot to be done for this city to be more inclusive, binners’ efforts to work alongside residents are booming.
In the last two years, instead of criminalizing binners and the people who support them, City staff and council have worked with us, Binners’ Project, to support the development of binner-designed programs, such as the “Binners Hook”, which residents and business install in their alleyway to clearly indicate bottles and cans they have put aside for binners. We are also developing a fleet of purpose-built carts that will improve binners’ efficiency, earning potential, and safety on the job, while reducing reliance on discarded carts.
People who bin are among the most marginalized in our communities, experiencing a range of issues that lock in marginalization, poverty, housing insecurity, and political invisibility. They are hard-working people making a sincere effort to contribute to their communities and earn a living legally and safely. Their efforts should be commended not criminalized.
Anna Godefroy, Executive Director of Binners’ Project