Vancouver Binners’ Project requests $75K for cart-sharing pilot

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver’s bottle and can collectors could soon have new equipment to help them lug their haul to recycling depots as a local group asks the city for a grant to test out the first cart sharing program.

The Binners’ Project wants $75,000 from the City of Vancouver to pilot the program. Similar to bike share programs, binners could borrow a cart for several hours, with a nominal deposit. Right now, binners use everything from shopping carts to wagons and pile them high in order to collect enough during the day.

Project director Anna Godefroy says their prototypes hold twice the amount of a normal shopping cart and are desperately needed.

“Their limitation is often the transportation of materials so if they have a more efficient cart then they can bring more cans and bottles and we can divert more of those from landfills,” Godefroy said.

Although there is no official count, Godefroy estimates there are around 3,000 full time binners in Vancouver. She said a cart sharing program would also reduce crime, as many binners steal shopping carts from retail outlets.

The carts would also be outfitted with a trailer hitch so binners could attach it to their bicycles.

The pilot, dubbed the Universal Cart Pilot could start in early 2018, and Godefroy hopes the full program could roll out by early 2019 and will include up to 40 carts at two stations over the next three years.

The stations would likely be located at bottle depots, including the United We Can on Industrial Avenue and another in the Downtown Eastside.

A city report presented to council today recommends councillors approve the new grant.

Council approved an initial grant of $69,800 in November 2016 to the Binners’ Project. The group also raised money from other sponsorships and grants.

The Binners’ Project is a group of waste-pickers and support staff dedicated to improving economic opportunities and reducing stigma of binners.

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