Waste Sorting Programs Making Ripples of Impact
Written By: Jessica Borich, Founder and Principal Strategist
When it comes to climate change, environmental sustainability has become a ‘trendy’ term where even with the best intent, can result in green washing in the corporate sector or even for consumers. However, one aspect that connects society is waste production and diversion. We’ve shared on our website a waste diversion project; Zero Waste Events that was designed as an impact-focused solution to increase recycling literacy in the community as well as waste diversion from events.
We wanted to share an impact-focused initiative that’s near and dear to our heart — Binners’ Project and how a program such as theirs is making an impact through social and economic inclusion and by building community resilience. The project serves residents of the Downtown Eastside who identify as binners. Have you heard of the term ‘binner’?
binner \`bin-ner\ — noun
1. A person who collects redeemable containers and other things from bins to sustain their livelihood and to divert waste from landfills; a dumpster diver
Binners’ Project is a group of waste-pickers aided by support staff dedicated to improving their economic opportunities, and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclable collectors. Binners are among one of the most marginalized groups in urban areas. Their livelihoods stem from refunds received from used containers collected from bins. Binners positively contribute to our environment by diverting a considerable amount of waste from landfills.
Through their work, the project is contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) # 10 and 12.
A few high-level targets by 2030:
- Progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 per cent of the population at a rate higher than the national average
- Empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
- Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard
How might we reduce inequalities that are continuing to affect marginalized communities and vulnerable populations?
- Humanity needs transformative change in eradicating poverty, dismantling systems to invest in communities (such as education and social protection). We need to promote equal opportunities that are accessible and inclusive (through social and economic growth).
A few high-level targets by 2030:
- Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
- Ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
- Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
How might we ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns?
We can start by:
Businesses can improve the environmental impact by being informed of supply and value chain and identify opportunities where their organizations can make an impact
Consumers can be mindful of consumption patterns, make informed purchase decisions and change behaviours to promote a sustainable lifestyle whenever possible as well as reduce the amount of waste generated.
Our Founder Jessica first encountered Binners’ Project during her tenure at Vancity when the project first launched. This summer, Jessica was asked to become a member of their Steering Committee and she could not be more proud to be volunteering her time and supporting the amazing work they are doing.
Binners’ Project is a project of Make Way. Be sure to support their annual fundraiser (Thursday, November 5, 2020) where you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about the project and hear from some of the binners themselves.