Michael Leland (left) and Gabby Korcheva of The Binners' Project are at a PNE information booth to explain binners' recycling skills and their role in keeping streets clean. ‘We're helping people in Vancouver meet zero-waste goals and it's an opportunity to educate the public about who is in your alley,’ says Leland. Craig Hodge / PNE
VANCOUVER — Michael Leland is enjoying a regular paycheque for the first time in 14 years — even if it is a temporary gig.
He’s what some call a dumpster diver, although the preferred term in his community is binner.
And he’s working at the PNE during the fair, even though he normally doesn’t like crowds, as a “zero-waste ambassador” in co-ordination with The Binners’ Project, an advocacy and support organization for the people who probably have the most expertise on what we throw away.
“For me to come here with all these people, it’s a stretch,” Leland said. “But this is fantastic, to have guaranteed daily income after years of not.
“To think I’d ever be here, working at the PNE, is just beyond my realm of conception.