The universal cart is designed by binners, for binners.

For the hundreds of binners across the city, finding a vessel to transport their bottles and cans is a daily task. Many have to buy a second-hand baby stroller, or  lugg their cargo by foot carrying plastic bags, or resort to theft by taking a cart from a grocery store.

Central City Foundation partnered with the Binners’ Project to help fund a prototype of a “universal cart” that binners would be able to borrow.

The cart is built specifically to binners’ needs including a bike hitch, a deep rectangular shape to maximize capacity, and strong and quiet wheels. The cart will not only make it easier for binners to work their routes, but will also improve safety for binners and help give  their work more legitimacy.

“The cart will help destigmatize the work we do,” said Davin Boutang, manager of programs and outreach at the Binners’ Project. “Instead of stealing a cart from a grocery store we can all use this one cart as a community.”

Binners are an important resource in our city, collecting thousands of recyclable bottles and cans from city streets. Their work helps ensure that waste is properly disposed of, minimizing garbage in the streets, parks and ocean.

Central City Foundation has supported the binners (United We Can first and now the Binners Project) for a nearly two decades. We see the critical value of the service they provide to our city and recognize binning as a source of income and economic survival for inner city residents. Binners have taught all of us a great deal about the value of work and what constitutes “work” in our society. Most importantly, supporting the Universal Cart is helping binners do their work more safely and easily.

“Since we started our binners were always saying they want a cart,” said Anna Godefroy, director of the Binners’ Project. “We are so happy to continue our long relationship with Central City Foundation and it was really important to have them on this project.”

The prototype of the cart will be tested by binners before being reproduced. The intention is to fabricate 30-40 carts in 2019 and set up a borrowing system open to all binners.

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