Tools of the trade: How tool selection increases challenges in the work of binners in North-Central Surrey

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This study examined the role of work tools used by informal recyclers (binners). Binners in BC’s Lower Mainland use a variety of tools to collect and transport work product to recycle depots. Choice of tool poses challenges: none works perfectly in working spaces of binners in North-Central Surrey. Using ethnographic interviews and work-alongs, this research identified trade-offs pitting factors like mobility and income against one another. Some work tools elicit negative public opinion; some are hard to secure: grocery carts are confiscated and bicycles stolen. Although this autonomous work is not directly regulated, interviews revealed factors regulating how binners and their work tools move through neighbourhoods and access amenities during their work shifts. Hierarchies of binning tools created from this research illustrate daily challenges of this work.
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