A new policy review commissioned by the Binners’ Project suggests that adding deposits to milk containers, or upping container deposits by as little as 5 cents, could mean more containers end up in recycling systems rather than landfills. The review is an example of how binners, self-employed street-level recyclers, are teaming up with university students to improve their communities and the environment.
In summer 2015, Joanne Lin, a Master’s of Public Health student from the University of Guelph conducted a policy review for the Binners’ Project while completing a practicum at the UBC Learning Exchange. The review focused on binning and the waste management of beverage containers in British Columbia to identify policy options that binners could support.
The Binners’ Project is a group of binners and organizers that meet at the UBC Learning Exchange every month. Joanne’s involvement with the project demonstrates how students can be a valuable resource for community groups by learning about a group and then applying their academic experience to help achieve community priorities.
Two key policy recommendations emerged: 1) include milk containers in the refund system and/or 2) increase the refund for containers already in the deposit system. If implemented, these policies could advance Vancouver’s acceptance of binning and contribute to its ‘Greenest City’ action plan goals of doubling the number of ‘green jobs’ and reducing landfill waste.