The Coffee Cup Revolution: Binning For Used Paper Coffee Cups

On Thursday, September 10th, the second Coffee Cup Revolution was held, with 130 binners participating. In four hours, 31,300 paper coffee cups were redeemed for 5¢ each at Victory Square.

This is the only public event in Vancouver that brings binners together and celebrates the work that binners do. The event also highlights the generation of non-recycled waste in the form of paper coffee cups in Vancouver (they are recycling since 2014 for residential waste only). Binners and volunteers gathered to demonstrate the importance of binning and the BC refund system for used conLogo-green-typo-20150515tainers from both environmental and social justice perspectives.

The Coffee Cup Revolution featured two roundtables bringing together community activists and experts in wide ranging discussion. More specifically, the roundtables focused on: 1) new environmentalism in the City; 2) new economies in the City.

“The Binners’ Project, generally, and the Coffee Cup Revolution, more specifically, are exciting developments in the civic landscape of Vancouver. The energy generated towards recognition of the key role binners play in a sustainable urban environment and towards empowering the Binners’ community is remarkable,” says Margot Young, Professor, ALLARD School of Law, UBC. “Leveraging the recycling of the hundreds of thousands of coffee cups that now go into our landfills weekly is a worthy goal. And, increasing the profile and economic well-being of binners is equally impressive.”

The Binners’ Project is a group of waste-pickers dedicated to improving their economic opportunities and reducing the stigma they face as informal recyclables collectors. The Binners’ Project is supported by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the City of Vancouver.

It is a project on Tides Canada’s shared platform, which supports on-the-ground efforts to create uncommon solutions for the common good. Tides Canada is a national Canadian charity dedicated to a healthy environment, social equity, and economic prosperity.

Find out more about the project: and the Coffee Cup Revolution.

We want a country in which:

  • public, private and social sectors are engaged in active efforts to close the gap between the socioeconomic wellbeing of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people
  • the public sector, private investors and philanthropists separately and collaboratively deploy financial capital to create positive social and environmental impact
  • social innovation is an integral part of Canada’s innovation ecosystem, enabling civic institutions to co-create policies, initiatives and programs that enable citizens to contribute a diversity of skills and perspectives to Canadian society
  • public, private and civil society sectors act collaboratively and courageously to advance human thriving and address shared challenges
  • humans’ social and economic footprint is in balance with the natural ecosystems that sustain life.