SURE WE CAN: A Recycling Center, Community Space and Sustainability Hub


Designing the We is collaborating with Sure We Can on its long-term strategic goals, design and community role. Sure We Can is a node in a larger community, and together we are working to strengthen its role in this ecosystem of social change in Bushwick Brooklyn, where SWC is located, and beyond. 

Founded in 2007, SWC is the only not-for-profit redemption center in NYC. This is a place for canners, those who collect cans and bottles to redeem for five cents. It is a welcoming space for the canning community, urban garden and workplace for many, and it is becoming a key node in the neighborhood for sustainability and economic equity.

“Where everyone counts.”
— Sure We Can


Within our community, we have a diverse representation of language groups, faith backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, ages, abilities, and life experiences.

•       SWC serves approximately 350 canners, ranging in age from teens to seniors, with the majority in their 60’s and 70’s.

•       Our community is mostly formed by immigrants; from canners to staff that represent over 20 countries.

•       The community at large includes Afro-American, Hispanic, Asian and Caucasian

In the past few years, SWC has grown bigger and bigger, starting with 20 to 30 canners and growing to hundreds of canners and community members who want to be part of our mission.

SWC embraces elderly people (mostly older women) as well as homeless men and women who are trying to have a decent income/life experience in a challenging urban environment as New York City.

SWC collaborates with young artists and organizations to promote local art events and exhibits.

We work with youth who are drawn to our site. Many schools and higher education institutions are interested in SWC’s experience.