Slide Show

 

A sequence of stills portraying the Binner Community around downtown Vancouver

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East Hastings Bottle Depot

Thousands of returned bottles and cans at the East Hastings Bottle depot

Thousands of returned bottles and cans at the East Hastings Bottle depot

The bottle depot in the heart of East Hastings is where the majority of bottles collected by #VancouverBinners are returned. It is the busiest depot in the down town core. Anywhere from 50,000 to 100, 000 bottles are  returned on any given day. Lines of binners stretch down the merchandise filled side walk. Some may wait up to an hour to return their heavy haul. But it many cases it is worth it. Binners are paid out anywhere from $30 to $100, depending on how hard they worked that day. The depot itself will pay out anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000 a day.

The East Hastings bottle depot is essential to the communities survival. Without it many individuals could not afford food or shelter. Though they may look the part, most people that take part in collecting bottles are not homeless. They either rent out affordable housing or SRO’s (Single Room Occupancy Hotel’s). But these low income rooms can still run at a rate of $300 to $500 a month. Many people receive welfare cheques at the amount of $200 for the month or  small pensions from past  employment that may run anywhere from $200 to $500 a month. Collecting bottles is a way of life and a necessity in order to ensure  they don’t go hungry. Binners that work hard enough can actually begin to save money and open up bank accounts.

The Vancouver Recycling program allows the less fortunate to make money on their own and at a pace that they choose. Their success is in their own hands and in their carts.

Flea Market on Abbott

VancoverBinners line Abbott Street at the Sunday Flea Market to sell found merchandise

VancoverBinners line Abbott Street at the Sunday Flea Market to sell found merchandise

For 3 years, VancouverBinners and volunteers have been organizing their Sunday Flea Markets on Abbott Street. Rain or shine, or even snow in some cases, Vancouver Binners bring their found merchandise, and sell it to all those looking for a bargain. This is another way for them to make ends meat, while working on their business skills and people skills at the same time. The Flea Market brings the East Hastings community together to talk, buy, and share weekly stories over free coffee that is given out by the volunteers. It is maintained, and governed by all the  volunteers that give their Sundays to people trying hard to live their lives.

Digging Deep

A binner digging deep in search of a few bottles on Robson Street

A binner digging deep in search of a few bottles on Robson Street

Vancouver Binners are always willing to go where most people will never choose to think about going. We pass them with a thought of disgust while they rummage through garbage bins looking for 10 or 20 cents. They work hard and in some cases they make even more money than we do in a day. Never judge a book by it’s cover. They are just trying to make a living.

Wet, Soggy Saturday in Downtown Vancouver

A binner walking downtown with bags full of containers

A binner walking downtown with bags full of containers

It’s a wet, damp Saturday, and while most of us are cozying up in coffee shops, Vancouver Binners are out trying to make a dollar every way they can. Many choose not to beg, so instead they choose to dig. For those of us who are too lazy to do it, binners collect bottles, and containers, day and night, and help the city recycle.