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Binners Unconference on Oct 20, 2014 in Vancouver

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

A conference on binning is one way UBC’s Learning Exchange, now in its 15th year, is connecting with Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Ken Lyotier says dumpster diving is a lot like treasure hunting except the loot involved is bottles and cans that can be returned for a refund. “They’re the gold and silver of street recycling,” he says.

And while bottles and cans may be disposable, he knows people aren’t.

As the co-leader of the Binners’ Project, a working group for waste pickers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Lyotier is on a mission to improve working conditions for binning, an often-invisible job performed by many of the city’s homeless.

For the past several months, the group has met inside the carport at the UBC Learning Exchange, a community engagement initiative in the DTES, to talk shop.

“Binners spend most of their waking hours picking through garbage,” says Lyotier, a former binner and longtime partner of the Learning Exchange. “They help keep the city clean and should have a voice in waste management policy.”

A nickel for your thoughts

With this in mind, Lyotier’s group is inviting UBC students and the wider community to the UBC Learning Exchange for a binner’s conference – or unconference, as they prefer to call it – on October 20, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The unconference – a more participatory approach to group meetings – will address the issues binners face, like locked dumpsters, and explore the idea of building a national network of street recyclers across Canada.

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Coffee Cup Revolution in Vancouver

October 9, 2014 Leave a comment

 

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COFFEE CUP REVOLUTION EVENT
Oct, 6th, 2014, Victory Square, Vancouver, Canada

The Coffee Cup Revolution is a demonstration depot event being planned for Victory Square in downtown Vancouver on Monday, October 6th, 2014.  

Vancouver binners are carrying out a street-level environmental action, reminiscent of United We Can’s efforts in the early 1990’s. That work helped shift social behavior and responsibility and resulted in the expansion of the deposit laws for beverage containers.

The ignition key for this event will be a “pop-up” depot in Victory Square that will pay binners 5¢ for each of those ubiquitous used paper cups that we see strewn across the urban landscape every day.

The spark behind this action is an exploratory venture, The Binners Project which is being supported under Cities for People, an experimental program for advancing urban innovation.

For its première event, the Binners Project has intentionally identified the “disposable” cup as the symbolic evidence of a conspicuous shift in consumer habits over the past several decades. Binners get up close and personal with our urban waste every day so they see first hand, the effects of this shift. Some older binners recall a time when people used to sit together in cafés chatting over steaming pottery cups of hot coffee. Today, in a busy wireless age, with paper cup in hand, we pursue our goals on the go; leaving a trail of cups, lids, stir sticks, and maybe even some of our values behind us in the dust.

A symbol of our times, but so much more, paper coffee cups have become a serious environmental problem. They litter the highways and byways of our cities, each one of them, an aesthetic assault to our collective unconscious. While it is difficult to estimate with absolute accuracy just how many of these cups we go through every year, the most recent statistics we could find suggest that conservatively, it’s well past the 1.5 billion mark. And that represents more than half a million trees, thousands of tons of garbage, and millions of liters of the fossil fuel needed to move this waste to our landfills and incinerators.

Event sponsors and partners: BC Housing, City of Vancouver, Vancity Community Foundation, Central City Foundation, Vancity Community Investment, Haebler Construction, UBC Learning Exchange, The Dugout Drop-in Centre Society, Recycling Alternative, United We Can, DTES Street Market, and other anonymous supporters.

What is a binner?
binner \`bin-ner\ – noun
Canadian west coast colloquialism
1. A person who collects bottles and cans and other objects of value from garbage (in bins); a dumpster diver; The binner pushed a shopping cart full of empties to the bottle depot.
Origin: Attributed to Robert Sarti (Vancouver Sun journalist) – 1990

 

0 Coffee Cup Revolution of the Binners Project

Port Metro Vancouver’s East Vancouver Community forum with Libby Davies

June 28, 2014 Leave a comment

port metro vancouver meeting