n. A person who collects and sells used bottles and cans, particularly those found in recycling bins and dumpsters.
Other Forms
This thought-provoking exhibit is just one of several local artistic projects inspired by the underground economy of the binners. Also known as dumpster divers and lane pickers, binners are a well-established presence in Greater Vancouver, where an estimated 1,500 workers ply the lowly trade.

As filmmaker Murray Siple explains in his upcoming NFB documentary, Carts of Darkness, binning is a lucrative industry; some binners claim they can earn up to $200 a day. The local bottle bounty comes courtesy of the province's aggressive container-deposit legislation, which covers not just beer and wine bottles, but also pop cans and Tetra Paks. The idea, in principle, is that levies of between five and 20 cents will motivate consumers to return their bottles and cans. In reality, many throw them in the garbage or the blue box.

A binner steps into the void, sifts through the mess, returns the empties and pockets the money.
—Alexandra Gill, “Thinking outside the blue box,” The Globe and Mail, January 20, 2007
The DVBIA wants council to impose a "dumpster-free zone" in the downtown core.

The plan would be for the businesses to involve groups like United We Can, a binners' association, in sorting through the recyclables before it gets hauled away.

"[Dumpsters] affect the livability of the binners and others as well, those who have to root through them for scraps and small offerings," Jones said. "This plan will provide a better income for those people who do that."

Jones is hoping council will force businesses to get rid of dumpsters by next August.

City council had been debating making it mandatory to lock all dumpsters, something which binners and others who make a living from scouring through the trash for recyclable materials have resisted.
—Irwin Loy, “Business groups dislike dumpsters,” 24 Hours, December 15, 2006
1994 (earliest)
Some Vancouver residents supplementing their income assistance by collecting cans and bottles have gone into the bottle depot business for themselves.

The collectors — or "binners" as they call themselves — often experience hassles at retail outlets.

This frustration prompted the formation of a non-profit group of 250 inner-city residents called Save Our Living Environment.

Project manager Ken Lyotier said Monday SOLE is opening a bottle and can depot in the downtown eastside for binners and the public to do business.
—“Around-B.C.,” The Canadian Press, December 19, 1994
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