Waste governance in Vancouver: Binners' participation and the impacts of grassroots innovations (an explorative study)




Sholanke, Dare

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Due to the general unawareness of the existence and significance of the informal recycling sector in the global north, leading to a great deal of exclusion and stigmatization, this thesis seeks to investigate waste governance in Vancouver and the level of participation of the informal recycling sector in municipal waste management. It also documents the critical role of grassroots innovations in promoting participatory governance and the challenges faced in the process. Results show that the informal recycling sector (binners) play a significant role in municipal waste management, and that there exists some level of participation in decision-making on waste management issues. Results also indicate that exclusion of binners in certain decision-making processes such as the City’s recycling bylaw led to challenges such as reduced access to recyclable materials, which threatens binners’ day-to-day activity and survival. Furthermore, the current level of participation of binners can be linked to the influence of a grassroots innovation called the Binners’ Project, which has at its core, empowerment and capacity building of its members. Challenges faced by this organization as well as binners, in general, are also documented. This thesis concludes with recommendations to promote transformative participatory waste governance and highlights strategies to ensure the sustenance of binners’ livelihoods.



Informal recycling, waste governance, waste management, resistance, empowerment, participatory governance, Vancouver, British Columbia