United We Can: Resource recovery, place and social enterprise
Elsevier. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 54 (2010) 422–428
Informal resource recovery, the collection of recyclable materials from the waste stream and urban environment, known as binning, can contribute to poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. An informal and marginalized sector of ‘invisible citizens’ exhibit a sense of place and agency obtained through the organization of the United We Can (UWC) bottle depot, a social enterprise in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), Canada. This paper discusses (1) social and economic aspects of resource recovery, in particular the binners’ sense of place and community, (2) the capacity of social entrepreneurship for community development through UWC and (3) current policy framework and required changes to support new forms of inclusive waste management that will contribute to the local economy and environmental quality.