Our Mission

United We Can is a charitable organization established to support environmental, social, and economic improvement in Vancouver. The mandate is to create economic opportunities for people with multiple barriers living in the Downtown Eastside, through environmental initiatives. United We Can strives to improve working conditions for binners by ensuring they have access to a safe working environment and that they receive the full deposit on all their bottles and cans.

United We Can’s first major undertaking, the “United We Can Bottle Depot”, was created by and for Vancouver’s binners. It opened in 1995 and it continues to thrive today. This bottle depot is the largest social enterprise project hosted by United We Can, which grew out of a vision of creating “green-collar” jobs while helping our local community and the people within it.

Meet Our Team

Richard Henry
Richard HenryGeneral Manager
Richard Henry manages the day to day and commercial operations at the United We Can. He is committed to the great community work that UWC does – and is particularly proud of the money that the program puts back into the Downtown Eastside community. His pride in his work extends to the people he works with everyday – people who UWC believe in and support that might otherwise be left behind.
Richard Ivanauskis
Richard IvanauskisLanes & Crossroads Manager
Born and raised in British Columbia, Rick has had the pleasure of working and traveling across Canada. Rick has worked with United We can for 18 years. He first started as a labourer before being promoted to a supervisor for both the Depot and Street Cleaner teams. Rick is proud of the time he has spent with United We Can and is looking forward to celebrating his 20 year company anniversary!
Wendy Porter
Wendy PorterSupervisor
Wendy Porter is proud to work at United We Can. She brings a strong sense of purpose and confidence to her work because she believes in the difference that United We Can is making in the lives of the people who come in to the Centre. She loves helping her team of employees be successful and become stronger.

For 28 years, she has been involved in dog shows – showing off her prized pets. In her spare time, she hikes, bikes, camps in British Columbia’s beautiful outdoors.

Christine Smallenberg
Christine SmallenbergCommercial Sort, Co-Supervisor
Christine came to United We Can more than 13 years ago. She co-supervises the returnables that come in from businesses around the community. She has lived in Vancouver most of her life – and fondly remembers collecting cans on her bike in East Van for pocket money, not realizing how much pop bottles would have a place in her future. The accessibility of the program and how it supports and empowers people who have traditional difficulties finding employment are great points of pride for Christine in her work. Being part of a strong, positive work environment reminds her of just how important the work of recycling is.
Martin Hunt
Martin HuntAdministrative Assistant
Martin is the Administrative Assistant for United We Can and is proud to contribute to the UWC community. He is essential to maintaining the computer network for the organization and enters payroll and coordinates pay packets for hourly workers. He values the freedom and responsibility he has as a respected member of the team. Martin graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1989 with a printmaking specialty. For the next 20 years, he worked in all aspects of the printing industry, was an active member of Malaspina Printmakers and worked as an artist’s assistant.
Yvonne Tham
Yvonne ThamAccountant
Yvonne was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) India and raised in Hong Kong.

In 1992 she immigrated to Vancouver Canada and in 2001 started working for United We Can doing a variety of jobs throughout the facility.

After studying part time at BCIT she graduated with a degree in accounting. Today Yvonne is responsible for many accounting functions on a daily basis such as Payroll , GST , WCB, and monthly statements for both boards .In her spare time Yvonne is a volunteer for S.U.C.C.S.S. , Canada Revenue short term tax season and Free Geek which is a computer recycling non-profit organization.

Yvonne is proud to be a member of United We can as she feels we are very honest and do not take advantage of those who rely on our services. She is committed to helping the environment through recycling but more importantly is very proud of the many people that United We Can employs on both a full time and part time basis.