The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
Supported by Logo WIEGO


December 16, 2009

Check translation:

[this is a translation into English of an earlier post from Lucia about the recyclers action in the Bella Center]

Among so many suits, ties and Colgate smiles, as if nothing was happening and another replacement planet was just waiting in the wings, the recyclers of India and Latin America taught people how they have been earning a living with dignity for dozens of years with the cry of “Let’s Recycle, Not Incinerate!”

It seems unbelievable but the environmentalists of the world and the delegates from different nations couldn’t separate their waste properly into the different bins provided. So all the waste that was produced by the 15,000+ people meeting every day in the Bella Center (where the UNFCCC COP15 talks are being held) ended up mixed inside four different containers, which supposedly were supposed to contain plastics, paper, organic waste, bottles and other waste.
So on Friday, December 11th at 6:30pm, after painting banners and slogans on some of the cardboard boxes reclaimed from some of the hundreds of international booths at the Center, the recyclers got down to business: “We, the poor nations, are teaching you how to mitigate climate change. The solutions that our countries need aren’t the supposed “clean energy” projects (of waste-to-energy incineration or landfilling), nor the carbon markets, since 15 million people earn their living from recycling. That’s why we invite you to learn how we can protect the climate together,” said Exequiel Estay in the name of the Global Alliance of Wastepickers/Recyclers and Allies.

With this, they carefully put the badly sorted waste over more cardboard boxes and within five minutes were able to leave everything well-sorted so that it could be recycled. We don’t believe in any case that this will be the future of such waste in Copenhagen, which paradoxically has incinerators emitting white smoke all over the place, but the idea was to give the world a lesson on how things can be done differently: in solidarity with the poorest and with the environment.