This 7-minute animated film shows how cities on different continents have taken diverse approaches to integrating waste pickers in municipal waste management systems and how waste pickers, residents and city budgets have all benefited.
Millions of people worldwide make a living by collecting, sorting and selling what others have thrown away. These informal waste pickers do a great service for their cities but are often overlooked, maltreated and even criminalized.
Waste picking provides crucial earnings for families. It also makes cities more beautiful and more healthful. Recycling leads to lower greenhouse gas emissions and preserves resources. Due to the waste pickers’ efforts, many cities in developing countries have higher recycling rates than western, industrialized cities (UN Habitat 2010: 207).
Plus, integrating waste pickers can save municipalities money: even when waste pickers are paid fairly for their labour, the transport and landfill costs decrease as waste pickers perform recycling services at lower rates than those charged by big profit-oriented companies.
Many cities have realized the benefits of integrating waste pickers into their municipal waste management programmes. Often, it is waste pickers who lead this change by first organizing, then advocating for recognition of their important role.
¡Celebrate waste pickers’ day sharing this video!
— globalrec.org (@global_rec) March 1, 2016