The updates we publish in this newsletter are by waste pickers and allies. Sometimes we re-post directly from what individuals or groups have shared via social media, websites or emails; sometimes we edit, organize and translate. The goal is to disseminate information from waste pickers across borders. As usual, we invite waste pickers’ organizations and allies to keep sending updates of their struggles and victories. We want to make this information-sharing platform more inclusive and participatory! This process is supported by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing.
If you want to be part of the editorial committee or learn how to post your own updates on globalrec.org please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear waste pickers and allies,
We are happy to share with you the 19th issue of “Struggles and Victories: Waste Pickers on the Frontline”. In this number, we have news from four continents.
WIEGO Communications support team for GlobalRec.org
Table of Contents
- Waste pickers from Medellín will receive their first payment for recycling
- Press Release in Support of Colombian Waste Pickers’ Rights
- REDNICA Presents its Grassroots Development Model of Inclusive Recycling
- Following an Agreement Between UCRUS and the Municipality of Montevideo
- Rally Against Construction of 7 Waste Incineration Plants in Buenos Aires
- Waste pickers making Viva Bem Coop pretty
- Rallies for the rights of Waste Pickers in Colombia
- Expocatadores 2017
- Waste Pickers March against displacement in Tshwane (South Africa)
- Remembering Reuben – Waste Picker Leader Murdered Outside Central Johannesburg
- Waste Pickers from 3 Continents Exchange Experiences and Knowledge in South Africa
Waste pickers from Medellín will receive their first payment for recycling (Colombia) by Arreciclar (12/20/2017)
The current national legislation in Colombia, which assures the recognition and remuneration of waste pickers as public service providers, has enabled waste picker organizations in different cities to receive their first payment. The organization Arreciclar from Medellín, a member of the National Association of Recyclers (ANR for its acronym in Spanish), will receive payment by the municipality. Since December 2016, Arreciclar has been included in the unique registry of public service providers, which is the first requirement to be formally accredited as a public service provider. Furthermore, with the support of ANR, WIEGO and the Fundación Familia, the organization receives training and operational support for organization, consolidation and reporting to the Unique Information System (SUI for its acronym in Spanish) of the Public Services Department: an online platform where information on public service provision is reported.
At the same time, Arreciclar has formed the Account Reconciliation Committee with Empresas Varias de Medellín (subsidiary of Empresas Públicas de Medellín) and Cooperativa Recimed (another waste picker cooperative which acts as a recycling service provider). The goal is to be able to provide the first payment to waste pickers by August 2017, and in doing so, become the second provincial capital in the country to achieve this level of progress in the recognition and inclusion of waste pickers as recycling service providers.
On August 27, 2017, different Colombian associations and waste picker groups – on behalf of the Colombian waste picker movement – published their stance in support of 60,000 waste picker families in the newspaper, El Tiempo Nacional. The rights of waste pickers are in danger due to the negligence of a great number of mayors who, though they are obliged to conduct censuses and develop programmes for waste pickers, don’t develop these programmes, do it badly or distort them. This creates major delays in being able to organize and formalize the waste picker population and leads to a deterioration of their living and working conditions, contrary to the goals which inspired the Constitutional Court’s orders. It also has adverse impacts on public sanitation services which urgently needs improvement. Furthermore, certain authorities’ unwillingness to introduce adequate regulations favours big private companies, who are taking advantage of their dominant economic position. Read the full press release, (in Spanish).
REDNICA Presents its Grassroots Development Model of Inclusive Recycling (Nicaragua) by REDNICA (08/26/2017)
The Network of Nicaraguan Entrepreneurs of Recycling (REDNICA) promotes inclusive recycling in Nicaragua. It is seen as a development alternative, because it enables grassroots waste pickers to obtain technical skills to handle solid waste, acquire skills to transform solid waste into commercial products and by extension, improve the economic and working conditions of the profession. REDNICA will undertake the following activities in the years to come: promoting their development model, fostering education and strengthening organizational abilities and technical qualification (training) of grassroots waste pickers. Read REDNICA’s full development model REDNICA (in Spanish).
Following an Agreement Between UCRUS and the Municipality of Montevideo (Uruguay) by Juan Carlos Silva (12/10/2017)
The Union of Urban Waste Pickers (UCRUS, for its Spanish acronym) is moving forward in meeting the requirements imposed by the government of Montevideo, Uruguay, to sign a year-long agreement. Currently they have a temporary agreement that regulates the number of trucks and allows waste pickers to choose them. Furthermore, UCRUS has formulated a set of internal rules and is holding weekly meetings with members. UCRUS is explaining to members that when the new national law on waste comes into effect (a result of a social dialogue in which UCRUS participated) waste pickers will have a very good chance at obtaining contracts with the government (assuming they have obtained a certification of competencies and quality), thereby becoming waste managers.
Rally Against Construction of 7 Waste Incineration Plants in Buenos Aires (Argentina) by FACyR – CTEP (11/24/2017)
In the face of a project to build 7 waste incineration plants in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina, thousands of cartoneros (waste pickers) from the FACyR – CTEP (Federación Argentina de Cartoneros y Recicladores) rallied on November 22nd, 2017 under the banner “Stop incineration, support inclusive recycling”, to show their opposition and to demand an inclusive law which acknowledges their work and promotes recycling.
Waste pickers making Viva Bem Coop pretty (Brazil) by Felipe RT (11/06/2017)
“Pimp Nossa Cooperativa” event took place in July 21th 2017 at the cooperative Cooper Viva Bem, São Paulo, Brazil. There, around 300 people participated, amongst them members of the cooperative and their families, artists, and supporters. Besides graffiti painting which aimed at changing the visual identity of the space the event also had workshops on urban agriculture, yoga, meditation, and medical services. This coop was founded in 2004 and has 74 members most of them women who work in sorting activities. Read more about the cooperative and the event in the article in Portuguese or check the photo gallery at Pimp My Carroça.
This past Thursday, October 19th 2017, there were big rallies in various cities in Colombia for the protection of the rights of Waste pickers that are under threat. We’ve collected some photos of the mobilizations.
Expocatadores 2017 (Brazil) (12/13/2017)
Check everything that happened in Expocatadores 2017 in Brasilia. Expocatadores is a multiactivity hub and fair and a national and international meeting of waste pickers organized by the MNCR (Waste Picker National Movement of Brazil).
Waste Pickers March against displacement in Tshwane (South Africa) by SAWPA (10/30/2017)
In response to failure of the City of Tshwane (Gauteng, South Africa) to respond to waste pickers demands such as support for their livelihoods, and failure to employ 261 waste pickers that were displaced during closure of kwaggasrand landfill. Over 500 waste recyclers or pickers from various local landfill sites will take to the streets on Wednesday 1 November 2017. The national movement of waste pickers, the South African Waste Pickers’ Association (SAWPA) and environmental justice NGO, groundWork are calling for a support for waste pickers in securing, dignifying of their livelihoods. Informal waste recovery on landfills pose a major health risk as a result of toxics that enters poorly managed sites and results to accidents that results to injury or even deaths of waste pickers in trying to make an honest living.
Remembering Reuben – Waste Picker Leader Murdered Outside Central Johannesburg (South Africa) (10/12/2017)
Reuben Sandile Oupa Mbambisa, a 52-year-old waste picker/reclaimer and active member of the Johannesburg Reclaimers Committee, was brutally murdered in the early hours of September 12, 2017 at the spot on the street that he called home. It is believed that his murder resulted from an altercation on September 10th when he intervened in a fight between a boyfriend and a girlfriend. Reuben was born and raised in Kagiso Township, South of Johannesburg. He worked for several different companies including the South African rail company, Spoornet. After losing his last formal job, he turned to informal recycling and moved to the city in 1988. He lived and worked on the streets of Fietas, an area on the fringes of a predominantly Indian suburb west of the Johannesburg central business district. Read the full article.
Waste Pickers from 3 Continents Exchange Experiences and Knowledge in South Africa (South Africa) by Adapted from SAWPA/groundWork (09/20/2017)
In August 2017, waste picker leaders from Brazil and India traveled to South Africa for an international exchange hosted by the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) and groundWork. The international exchange provided a platform for waste pickers across three continents to work together by sharing their struggles and experiences in organizing their communities. Waste pickers traveled to landfill sites (including Onderstepoort, Goudkoppies, Marie Louise, Mooi River and Sasolburg landfills) to learn about local working conditions and visited with SAWPA members to discuss some of the main challenges they face. They also participated in meetings between South African waste pickers, government officials and other experts. Read full article.
Amelior becomes member of REFER (Francilian Reuse Network) and other updates (France) by Association Amelior (12/07/2017)
Amelior recently signed agreements with 5 REFER member organizations located in Paris and its suburbs to collect textiles, electric and electronics material, books, and different goods of responsible consumption 2 days a week. Its members now collect more than 8 tons per month in a cooperative way. This has given members improved and guaranteed access to materials. Learn more about the agreements, Amelior’s exchange visits with other waste picker groups and its recent engagements with the French government and Parisian municipality. Read full reporwith more news from Amelior.
The Coffee Cup Revolution starts in Vancouver (Canada) by Binners’ Project (11/22/2017)
Every week, in Vancouver, Canada, 2.6 million coffee cups are sent to landfills instead of being recycled properly. On October 16, 2017 the Binners’ Project hosted its fourth annual Coffee Cup Revolution in Vancouver, British Columbia – a one day pop-up depot where binners could return coffee cups for a five cent refund. (Binners is the preferred term for ‘waste-pickers’ or ‘dumpster divers’ in Western Canada.) Through the Coffee Cup Revolution, binners have fostered a larger discussion on how we can address this problem in a way that recognizes the important role binners are playing keeping the city clean and managing waste streams. While the depot was open, binners also hosted roundtable conversations to discuss: reducing single-use items, developing the informal economy, and increasing social hiring. At the end of the day, 53,783 coffee cups were collected, breaking last year’s record of 49,060. The depot was exclusively run by and for binners. The income opportunity for binners amounted to $2,689.15 in one day.