Nickels, dimes and bottle chimes

Wayne Skinner collects recyclables worth nothing but pocket change six days a week.

 Jessie Dobbin

Wayne Skinner arrives at the recycling depot with a cart load of recyclables on Monday. Skinner started collecting recyclables to help pay his bills. Jessie Dobbin/Kicker

Some people throw recyclables in the trash. To others, those bottles and cans are the difference between a meal and nothing.

Wayne Skinner started collecting recyclables because he would have no money left after paying his bills.

The cart he uses during his day isn’t any regular shopping cart, either. It’s a tough aluminum cart with two strong bicycle wheels and two regular cart wheels. It was given to him by Memorial University of Newfoundland’s engineering program, made by Tyler Boone and Skinner says it’s one of a kind.

Skinner, known as “the governor of Georgestown and Rabbittown,” got his name from his time at Jefferson junior high school. He would wear a suit and tie while the others wore casual clothes. Although the school is long gone, the name lives on.

The way Skinner normally get his recyclables is by going door-to-door collecting them from people he calls his customers. He says they give him everything from plastic to liquor bottles and that he’ll gladly take them off their hands with a smile.

“The liquor bottles are heavy, but it’s money – ten cents for a liquor bottle,” Skinner said while taking a bag of glass bottles out of his cart.

Along with Skinner, other collectors find the winter much harder on them. Pushing their carts though slush and snow, and sometimes having to walk on the roads because of snow-covered side walks.

As well, the winter is more difficult due to the cold weather. Skinner says on a good day he can make $80 to $100, and on a bad day he makes only $20 to $30. He says he usually makes double runs to the depot, but on days like Monday, it was too cold for him and he headed home at 12 p.m.

Under his layers of winter clothes and a dirty reflective jacket, Skinner is friendly and greets people as they walk up to the depot from the comfort of his aluminum cart. During the interview, a woman gently placed two bags of recyclables in his cart.

“If anyone has bottles, they can put them on Wayne Skinner’s account (753-9206),” Skinner said as foot traffic picked up and he walked into the depot.


  1. It is so sad that anyone, this day and age, would have to do this to be able to buy food and other necessities. Shame on the government! Wayne Skinner is one of the lucky ones who can get out and get the recyclables and have customers to help him but what about the others that can’t get out. Mr. Skinner is just the tip of the iceberg. How many more is out there needing help? Stories like this one needs be broadcasted more often. Maybe one day the government will open their eyes and their wallets.

  2. So sad indeed.
    What recyclable depot would you have to drop off recyclables to get them put on Mr. Skinners account?

  3. So happy to see an article written about Wayne! While I lived in town I used to give Wayne all my recycling plus some baked goodies when ever he came by. Wayne also adopted my Quaker parakeet. I still wonder if he still has willy the silly bird. Best of luck Wayne.

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