Tag Archives: waste pickers

Rio’s waste pickers: ‘People spat at us but now we’re at the Olympics’

Rio’s waste pickers: ‘People spat at us but now we’re at the Olympics’ |Source: The Guardian, Aug 6 2016 |

Rio authorities partner with Coca-Cola to fund the Rio Olympics waste pickers programme, putting a spotlight on one of Brazil’s most marginalised professions 

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Rio 2016’s waste pickers. Photograph: Luiz Galerani

Claudete Da Costa started working as a waste picker with her mother when she was 11 years old, collecting recyclable goods in Rio de Janeiro to sell to scrap merchants.

“We were ashamed,” she says. “People saw us and spat at us, thought we were thieves.”

Today, 36-year-old Da Costa’s outlook has changed. She is the Rio de Janeiro representative for Brazil’s National Movement of Waste Pickers, whose mission is to improve workers’ rights and increase recognition of the contribution made by one of Brazil’s most marginalised professions.

This month, Da Costa and 240 other pickers from 33 of Rio’s waste collecting co-operatives – autonomous groups that collect the city’s rubbish throughout the year – are formally contracted to handle recyclable waste during the Olympic Games.

The pickers will be spread across three of the four Olympic sites – Maracana, Olympic Park and Deodoro – where they will collect recyclable goods such as plastic bottles and aluminium cans, and take them to a depot to be sorted, stored and sold on by the co-ops to scrap merchants.

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Mainstreaming Waste Pickers in City’s Solid Waste Management System -Swachh Bharat Urban

Mainstreaming Waste Pickers in City’s Solid Waste Management System, 2016. Swachh Bharat Urban

In the second course of this tutorial, Ms. Aparna Susarla, Operations Manager of SWaCH discusses the benefits of engaging waste pickers in the city’s SWM system for waste pickers as well as to the city. We will learn of the segregation of waste, composting of wet waste and sale of recyclables by waste pickers and how this cooperation has helped PMC save almost Rs. 16 crores annually.

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic review

Enabling factors for the existence of waste pickers: A systematic reviewSocial work (Stellenbosch. Online) vol.52 n.1 Stellenbosch 2016. Authors: Rinie Schenck; Derick Blaauw; Kotie Viljoen.

The paper reports on a systematic review research process to determine the enabling factors for waste pickers to operate in the informal economy in South Africa. Twenty-eight South African journal articles, theses and position and policy papers were sourced and appraised.

The results indicate that recognition of the waste pickers in the waste system is the most enabling factor for them to operate. The concept of recognition is analysed, described and explained as assisting waste pickers to become more visible, having a voice and to be validated.

Trash and treasure in Brazil’s Jóquei landfill – in pictures

Trash and treasure in Brazil’s Jóquei landfill – in pictures | Source: The Guardian, July 6 2016 |

The Lixão do Jóquei is one of the largest open landfills in Latin America. Under a 2010 federal law, all solid waste in Brazil should be put in modern landfills that have been lined to stop toxins soaking into the soil. brazil

Jóquei, which does not meet those requirements, is scheduled to be closed this year, but hundreds of people still make a dangerous living from scavenging amid its mounds of trash.

Exact numbers of people working at the site are hard to come by. According to municipal authorities, about 600 people sort rubbish here, but the workers themselves, known as catadores, put the figure at more than 2,600.

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From waste-picker to waste professional: A Bengaluru organisation recycles livelihoods

From waste-picker to waste professional: A Bengaluru organisation recycles livelihoods | Source: The News Minute, June 17 2016 |

Hasiru Dala also creates awareness about segregating dry waste and wet waste.

Thirty-eight-year-old Lakshmi has been working as a waste-picker in Bengaluru for five years. “We are called thieves when we are collecting waste. Some have even gone to the extent of calling the police,” said Lakshmi lamenting the state of waste-pickers in the city. Hasiru (1)

However, all that changed when Hasiru Dala, a social enterprise that organise waste-pickers came forward and provided Lakshmi with an ID card. “The green card from Hasiru Dala helps us avoid such problems,” she said.

Hasiru Dala, an organisation that turn waste-pickers to waste professionals aids the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in managing Bengaluru’s massive waste production by providing waste management services for homes, apartments, commercial set-ups and events.. From a family wedding to a city-wide marathon, Hasiru Dala (Green Army in Kannada) provides waste management services for all kinds of events.

Along with recycling waste, Hasiru Dala has also managed to recycle the livelihoods of thousands of waste pickers in the city like that of Lakshmi. Shekhar Prabhakar, Managing Director of Hasiru Dala said, “Waste-picking is a job totally dependent on luck. It is not an easy job. Waste pickers bend down hundreds of times in covering a 10 km stretch. We are aiming to create dignified labour by providing waste-pickers with ID cards.” Hasiru Dala has helped around 7500 waste-pickers obtain an ID card.

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Sometimes you don’t make enough money to buy food: An analysis of South African street waste pickers income

Sometimes you don’t make enough money to buy food: An analysis of
South African street waste pickers income:, 2016. Economic Research Southern Africa Brief.

Authors: By JMM Viljoen, PF Blaauw and CJ Schenck

Local governments however, can play an important role in protecting and enhancing the income-earning opportunities of street waste pickers. Local governments should create an environment in which higher quantities of quality waste are made accessible to the street waste pickers.

One such initiative is the ‘separation of waste at source’ initiative. The benefits of a well-considered system of ‘separation at source’ will provide street waste pickers access to bigger volumes of semi-sorted waste, as well as higher quality waste which will enhance their income-earning opportunities.

Local governments should further facilitate infrastructure such as Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), sorting facilities, and more efficient BBCs to assist street waste pickers to collect and sell higher volumes of waste. It is difficult for street waste pickers to sort and clean the waste properly without a place or space to sort the waste. Therefore, there is an urgent need for sorting and storage space to enable street waste pickers to sort the waste they have collected properly as better-sorted and higher quality waste reach higher prices.

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The Greener March: One Man’s Trash is another’s Revolution With Pimp My Carroça

The Greener March: One Man’s Trash is another’s Revolution With Pimp My Carroça | Source: Morocco World News, May 24 2016timthumb

Casablanca – You may have noticed them in your peripheries; bulky unwieldy carts with jerry-rigged walls, threatening to topple over under towering piles of plastic containers and cardboard.

Often unseen but ever-present, the men that pull these carts are called “mikhala” or “boara,” meaning waste pickers in Moroccan Arabic, make up the sprawling network of Morocco’s informal trash collection.  Municipal waste in Casablanca goes from kitchen trash cans straight to landfills, unless the material is recyclable in which case it is picked up by a waste picker who subsequently sells it to a recycling company.

Morocco, like many developing countries, has a lack of recycling infrastructure, which results in all municipal waste going straight to landfills. The waste and pollution problems in Morocco cannot be understated; Morocco is the second highest consumer of plastics in the world, second only to the United States according to Moroccan news site Yalbiladi. The waste pickers that are part of the wave of rural migration to big cities like Casablanca, often unable to find work, have crafted a niche market in recycling the enormous amount of trash.

The waste pickers are a deeply imperfect solution, yet they fill a void in Morocco’s trash infrastructure and provide an invaluable service to Moroccan citizens. This value however, is hampered by Moroccan society’s negative opinions of the trash pickers; they see the work of the waste pickers as an eyesore and nuisance in the city. Ostracized by Moroccan society, the waste pickers live on the fringes and are relegated to the lowest of societal rungs. This brings us to the start of the Pimp My Carroça Project.

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