Tag Archives: waste pickers

‘Trash banking’ takes off around the world

‘Trash banking’ takes off around the world | Source: Waste Dive, May 2016 |

Dive Brief:

  • The Mutiara Trash Bank in Makassar, Indonesia is seen as a leading example of the expanding “trash banking” system. The country has 2,800 trash banks in 129 cities which serve 175,000 people. wastedive
  • Residents bring in recyclables that are weighed for value. In exchange they can withdraw or deposit money from bank accounts. Some banks allow residents to pay directly for rice, phone cards or electricity bills. The Makassar government commits to buying the waste at fixed prices and then sells it to waste merchants who ship it to Java.
  • Makassar produces 800 tons of waste per day, much of which ends up in a large landfill. Waste pickers, who are often women and children, work to retrieve valuable materials from the growing pile. According to Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 70% of the country’s waste goes to landfills.

Read the complete article.

Meet the bin scavengers saving SA R750-million a year

Meet the bin scavengers saving SA R750-million a year | Source: Sunday Times/South Africa, May 8 2016 |

His name is Peter May, and the collars of his dapper blue shirt have been ironed flat.

“I have the same name as an English cricketer,” he says, pulling a trolley that bulges with rubbish bags.

petermay

Peter May knows his bins Image: Ruvan Boshoff

But he is not a cricketer, and for him the waste inside the bags is not garbage. It is his livelihood: bundles of white paper, cardboard, newspaper and light steel sifted from bins and landfill sites across Cape Town.

May is one of the country’s 60 000 to 90 000 waste pickers who, in a recent surprise finding, save our municipalities up to R750-million a year.

They divert recyclables away from the landfills at no, or little cost. Now their fate hangs in the balance as the waste economy sets off on a new path.

According to a report by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the waste and recycling sector “is on the brink of change” thanks to mandatory extended producer responsibility, which means producers will be responsible for the waste they generate. This often takes the form of a reuse, buy-back or recycling programme.

The CSIR has done research to see if waste pickers can be incorporated into the formal economy, and Professor Linda Godfrey, who led the study, said: “The most surprising finding for me was when we started to attach financial values to the savings by municipalities as a result of informal waste pickers.”

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Startup Turns Plastic Collected By Waste Pickers Into 3D Printer Ink

Startup Turns Plastic Collected By Waste Pickers Into 3D Printer Ink | Source: Huffington Post, May 5 2016 |

Trash collectors would be able to earn 20 times more than they do now.

Millions of waste collectors in developing countries spend their days sifting through garbage. It’s a task that’s dangerous and unhealthy, yet pretty critical considering that most of it is dumped illegally and there’s minimal private waste collection.

India Daily Life

A homeless child rag picker waits to cross a road after collecting recyclable material from a garbage dump in Gauhati, India, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

But they only earn about $2 a day and often burn the plastic in a way that’s deleterious to the environment.

Reflow, a startup out of Amsterdam, has found a way to disrupt that model, and help these workers earn 20 times more than do now.

The company partners directly with waste pickers and converts the plastic they amass into high quality print filament, which is what 3D printers use instead of ink.

Waste pickers, or those who make money by gathering and selling recyclable items, often live below the poverty line, the company pointed out on its Kickstarter page.

“Everywhere you go, you can find huge groups of people collecting waste barely being able to feed their family, plastic being burned in open air and plastic waste clogging drains, causing floods and spread disease,” the page reads. “Seeing this broke our hearts, and we were determined to help break this cycle.”

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WASTE -A documentary by Parasher Baruah

After winning a fellowship with InfoChange India, Parasher Baruah has directed a documentary film about the rag pickers of Dharavi . The film was selected to be screened at the Munich Documentary Film Festival in May 2009.

Filmed over a period of eight months in Dharavi, WASTE explores the importance of the rag pickers’ role in managing the city’s waste and the challenges that these people face every day. The film follows three adolescent rag pickers, Sameer, Santosh, and Salman, as they go about their daily lives and interviews other rag pickers and residents of Dharavi in the process.

WASTE leaves a powerful impact on its audience and prompts viewers to rethink the way they use and dispose of trash. The film continues to be screened at various schools and events to bring attention to the living conditions of rag pickers and to help audiences gain perspective on how their patterns of consumption impact the environment

Stunning Mural In Cairo’s ‘Garbage City’ Stretches Across 50 Buildings

Stunning Mural In Cairo’s ‘Garbage City’ Stretches Across 50 Buildings | Source: Huffington Post, Mar 15, 2016 |

In Egypt’s Garbage City, global street artist eL Seed is honoring the people who help keep Cairo clean. egypt

Nestled in Cairo’s Manshiyat Naser neighborhood sits Garbage City, the crassly nicknamed settlement which houses the Coptic community known as the Zabaleen.

For decades, the Zabaleen have worked as unofficial sanitation experts, privately traveling door to door to collect the capital’s trash, return to their homes to sort through it and identify the salvaged materials that could be sold to factories and wholesalers. Most organic waste would be fed to the community’s pigs.

Informally, the Zabaleen developed one of the most efficient, cost-effective recycling systems in the region. According to The Guardian, they collect around 9,000 tons of garbage per day, which amounts to nearly two-thirds of the trash thrown away by Cairo’s inhabitants. On top of that, Laila Iskander, Egypt’s Minister of State for Environment Affairs, estimates the mini city boasts a recycling capacity of nearly 100 percent.

Despite the Zabaleen’s efforts, their quarter of Cairo is often viewed as nothing more than its nickname. “The place is perceived as dirty, marginalized and segregated,” street artist eL Seed wrote on his Facebook page this week. “In my new project ‘Perception,’ I am questioning the level of judgment and misconception society can unconsciously have upon a community based on their differences.”

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World Bank-Waste Management Key to Regaining Public Trust in the Arab World

Waste Management Key to Regaining Public Trust in the Arab World | Source: World Bank, Mar 14, 2016 |

The municipal management of household garbage or solid waste is one of the simplest, most common signs of a working relationship between the state and its citizens. Lebanon’s recent problem—of municipalities leaving garbage to pile up uncollected—has caused public outcry and public demonstrations. It is an example of a failed social contract between the state and its citizens.

solid_waste_mena

Zouzou l Shutterstock.com

It is, as one local youth put it, not just about services: “The root cause of the waste crisis in Lebanon is not technical but political. There is no political will to solve the problem—from one side mainly because of the failure of state institutions and a deadlock in decision making within the cabinet; and from the other, because multiple political actors with vested interests have been blocking any solution”.

This piece examines three countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—Morocco, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia—each of which have had a unique journey, both in the way they have learned to manage solid waste and in how this has translated into an important part of the relationship that has evolved between their citizens, local authorities, and national governments.

In Morocco, the reform of the solid waste sector has taken place over the past decade, with its emphasis on public partnership with the private sector and on improving the environment and lives of vulnerable groups of people who make money from picking through household garbage. Before the reform program began, solid waste sites in Morocco were poorly managed. Rivers laced with toxic effluent commonly flowed through towns and into the Atlantic. “Waste-pickers”—the men and women, adults and children trying to make a living from what other people were throwing out—often competed to collect valuable scraps of rubbish from unregulated dump sites without any protection.

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A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management

A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management | Sources: World Bank’s Voices, March 2 2016 |

Waste – its generation, collection, and disposal – is a major global challenge of the 21st century. Recycling waste drives environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulates the economy by supplying raw materials and packaging materials.

wastepickers

Photo: Global Environment Facility/Flickr

Waste pickers are the principal actors in reclaiming waste for the recycling industry. Across the world, large numbers of people from low-income and disadvantaged communities make a living collecting and sorting waste, and then selling reclaimed waste through intermediaries to the recycling industry.

Where others see trash or garbage, the waste pickers see paper, cardboard, glass, and metal. They are skilled at sorting and bundling different types of waste by color, weight, and end use to sell to the recycling industry. Yet waste pickers are rarely recognized for the important role they play in creating value from the waste generated by others and in contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

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