The International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP) is a union of waste pickers organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries. Our members participate in the collection, separation, sorting, transport, and sale of recyclable and reusable materials and products (paper, plastic, metal, glass and other materials) in an informal or semi-formal capacity, as own account workers, or in a cooperative settings.
The Alliance will defend their work and its recognition, in pursuit of public policies that improve the working and living conditions of the waste pickers of the world.
Global declaration of the 1st world conference of waste pickers (2018)
At the 1st World Conference of Waste Pickers, held in 2008 from March 1st through 4th, grassroots waste pickers’ organizations from around the world (representing groups in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe) gathered in Bogotá, Colombia, to make a declaration to governments, support organizations, waste pickers’ groups, and the public.
1. We declare our commitment to work for the social and economic inclusion of the waste picker population, to promote and strengthen its organizations, to help them move up the value chain and to be included and given priority in formal waste management systems.
2. We declare our rejection of incineration and landfill-based technologies and agree to demand and create processes that promote “zero waste”, or the maximum utilization of waste (such reuse, recycling and composting). These alternatives represent viable socioeconomic alternatives for informal and marginalized sectors of the global population.
3. We declare our commitment to continue sharing knowledge, experience and technology, as these actions will promote and accelerate contact with the greatest possible number of waste pickers and their organizations across the world, making visible their living and working conditions and their contributions to sustainable development.
4. We declare our commitment to advocate for improved laws and public policies that effectively involve waste picker organizations. Waste pickers should become actors in decision-making processes, with the goal of improving working conditions for their category, developing knowledge and capacity-building activities, and seeking the recognition and professionalization of their work.