Tag Archives: recycling

New York City Fights Scavengers Over a Treasure: Trash

New York City Fights Scavengers Over a Treasure: Trash | Source: New York Times, Mar 20 2016 |

The video begins with ominous notes from a piano and an image of crime scene tape. The camera pans to men hunched over garbage pails, sifting for bottles, and a stoop-shouldered woman towing a shopping cart full of cans. Some might feel sympathy for these collectors, but the video makes clear that the New York City Sanitation Department, which made the video and posted it online, wanted them to be seen as something else: common criminals. recycle

“Scavengers are putting the Department of Sanitation’s recycling program at risk, by removing the most valuable recyclables,” a voice-over begins. “Nobody wants to be perceived of as picking on the little guy, but the lone scavenger is now an organized, sophisticated mob of scavenger collectives that systematically removes valuable recyclables,” it continues. “Recycling is the law. Scavenging is a crime. Don’t allow scavenging to steal recycling’s future.”

The moment refuse hits the curb it becomes the city’s property — and the city’s problem. From there, materials like metals, cardboard and plastic are supposed to enter into the vast web of the recycling process, a network of carters and sorters, compactors and remelters. The theft of such items has long been an issue, taking a toll on the city’s curbside recycling, or diversion, rate. The problem has peaked and fallen over the years as prices for commodities have fluctuated.

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IDEO.org Challenge – How might we establish better recycling habits at home?

Recycling is something in which we all have a role to play. It’s one of the easiest ways we can contribute to protecting our environment. When it comes to recycling at home, there often seems to be a mismatch between our good intentions and our actions and in many countries around the world, less than a third of us recycle at home. ideo

How can we nudge people to incorporate better recycling habits into their daily routines at home? What tools, campaigns or services might we design to support habit changes that stick? Together with Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) – one of the world’s largest independent bottlers of Coca-Cola products – we’re asking the OpenIDEO community to help us find creative ways to encourage people to recycle at home.

UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’

UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’ | Source: Environmental Leader – Oct 10 2013

Recycling and waste treatment can be a “gold mine,” perhaps literally, according to a UN report that finds treated waste can be put to profitable use. un-landfills

For example, 1 metric ton of electrical and electronic wastecontains as much gold as 5 to 15 metric tons of typical gold ore, and amounts of copper, aluminum and rare metals that exceed by many times the levels found in typical ores. As a result, printed circuit boards are probably the “richest ore stream you’re ever going to find,” according to the Guidelines for National Waste Management Strategies: Moving from Challenges to Opportunities.

Many waste products can be reused and, if waste is separated at source, the uncontaminated organic fraction can be composted or digested anaerobically, the report says.

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WASHplus Weekly – Focus on Waste Pickers

Issue 75 October 19, 2012 | Focus on Waste Pickers

This week’s issue contains reports, videos and blog posts that discuss the health, environmental and other issues that affect waste pickers. According to the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, the term “waste pickers” can be broadly defined as people who reclaim reusable and recyclable materials from what others have cast aside as waste. 

In many countries, family-based enterprises in the solid waste informal sector account for most recycling of metal, paper, plastic, glass, and kitchen and garden waste. Without the activity of these micro-entrepreneurs, much more waste would end up in dumps or in the environment, but at the same time their conditions of work are difficult and unhealthy.

Please let WASHplus know at any time if you have resources to share for future issues of WASHplus Weekly or if you have suggestions for future topics. An archive of past Weekly issues is available on the WASHplus website. 

WASHplus Weekly – The informal sector and solid waste management

Issue 50 April 6, 2012 | Focus on the Informal Sector and Solid Waste Management

The informal waste sector provides a much needed service in the developing world; the work of this sector reduces waste in communities, increases the reclamation and reuse of materials, and helps to lower greenhouse gas emissions. This issue of the WASHplus Weekly contains recent reviews on the economics of the informal sector and the diseases and injuries that waste pickers endure. Also included are case studies from Bangladesh, Brazil, Pakistan, the Philippines, and recent videos.

Please let WASHplus know at any time if you have resources to share for future issues of WASHplus Weekly or if you have suggestions for future topics. An archive of past Weekly issues is available on the WASHplus website. 

Pakistan’s waste gets a second life

Dec. 1, 2011 – Entrepreneur turns Pakistan’s tons of garbage into a handsome profit while saving the environment.

Clean” and “green” are words not usually associated with the streets of Lahore, but a garbage collecting business is changing the image of the Pakistani city.

And it is making millions of dollars in the process, by turning waste into liquefied petroleum products and fertiliser for farmlands.

NY Times – Foundations Try to Legitimize India’s ‘Invisible Environmentalists’

May 16, 2011 – Sarasa Satish is a waste picker. Every morning, she starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. going door to door, collecting throwaway materials from houses in the Rajendra Nagar slums of Bangalore, India.

The neighborhood is crowded, with an average of about five people packed into each of its 4,000 households. Most are poor; some don’t have running water. A typical workday ends with her sorting out the recyclable material once she’s dumped the rejects, or non-recyclable waste. A few years ago, she would most likely have done that in a cramped alleyway.

But now she segregates the remaining plastics, paper and compostable material in a small neighborhood center built by CHF International, a humanitarian aid organization once called the Cooperative Housing Foundation. It has a large presence in developing countries.

There may be as many as 1.5 million waste pickers in India. Most make the equivalent of $2 a day. In Delhi, India’s largest city, waste pickers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 1 million tons a year, according to Chintan, a Delhi-based non-governmental agency. Globally, there are estimated to be 15 million waste pickers working in developing countries.

Although they reduce energy use and related emissions through recycling, the fruits of their labors are often ignored. That’s why some people refer to them as “invisible environmentalists.”

In Bangalore, recycling isn’t even regarded as a formal industry, even though the work is essential. Cities are rapidly expanding in India, but with city growth comes slum growth. India alone accounts for a third of the world’s poor, people making less than $2 a day.

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