Montreal

New Plateau trash cans have 'binners' in mind

New participatory garbage cans in the Plateau make it easy for bottle collectors to get containers without having to rummage through the trash.

Refundable bottles, cans get picked up within hour when left on shelf affixed to public bins

The Ville-Marie began putting brackets on their garbage cans two years ago, such as this one on Ontario street, so binners have an easier time getting to containers. (Submitted by Coop Les Valoristes)

When you walk along St-Laurent Boulevard or Mont-Royal Avenue, you may notice public garbage cans with a new look.

The Plateau-Mont-Royal borough is trying to make it easier for so-called "binners" to collect refundable bottles and aluminum cans, by adding a metal bracket around public garbage cans on the borough's main commercial streets.

Rather than trash their beverage container, anyone walking by can place it on the shelf, so a bottle collector can collect it without having to rummage through the contents of the garbage.

The borough has installed 35 brackets on garbage bins in a pilot project.

The bins are modeled after a similar initiative in the Ville-Marie borough which started two years ago.

That project was sparked by Les Valoristes, a co-operative that promotes and protects the rights of refundable can and bottle collectors.

Variations on the bin have been in use for more than a decade in Vancouver, and they can be found in Copenhagen and elsewhere in Europe.

Vancouver's public trash cans have been fitted with brackets for recycled containers for over a decade. (Amy Bell/CBC)

Binners are an integral part of what the co-op's co-founder, Marica Vasquez Tagliero, calls an "informal economy" that's been going on for four decades.

Exchanging cans and bottles for their refundable deposit "is one of the only legal options left as odd jobs," she said.

Binners often face discrimination, especially when returning large quantities of containers, according to the co-op.

Making the refundable containers more accessible to the collectors makes their job safer and more hygienic, Vasquez Tagliero told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"You can always get cut if you go in the garbage bin," said Vazquez Tagliero.

Promote recycling, reduce landfill

Jeanne-Mance borough Coun. Maeva Vilain said the new attachments for the trash cans, which the borough is calling participatory garbage cans, are quick and easy to install.

"I see the residents of our neighbourhood are happy that we're improving the lives of people going through bins," Vilain said.

The new bins will also help reduce landfill waste, she said, as binners make sure the containers end up getting recycled.

Vilain said the borough has received a lot of positive feedback from residents at the new initiative.

"I was surprised that people would be so conscious; that the needs exists and it's good to help [the binners]," said Vilain.

There are 35 public garbage cans that have been fitted with a metal bracket to collect recyclable cans and bottles in the Plateau-Mont-Royal. (Aviva Lessard/CBC)

After consulting with Les Valoristes, they decided the best placement for the participatory garbage cans was on the streets near bars and urban pubs.

"At first instinctively we thought that we should leave them in the park, but [Les valoristes] explained that there was already an informal organization in the park, where people leave the bottles next to the bins," said Vilain.

About the Author

Aviva Lessard

Current Affairs/Digital Intern

Aviva Lessard is a current affairs and digital intern with CBC Montreal.

With files from Daybreak

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