The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
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nohra padilla with new york canners

Nohra Padilla, of ARB in Colombia, with “canners” of New York. Photo credit: Lucia Fernandez.

There is an army of waste pickers in the streets of New York, collecting cans and bottles. In New York, they are called “canners.” They can sell cans and bottes to middlemen for a few cents there. For the unemployed of the wealthiest city in the United States, it’s a growing profession.

In September of 2011, Nohra Padilla, a waste picker from Bogota, Colombia, visited them at the New York-based organization, Sure We Can. She was thrilled to see many waste pickers on the streets, some of them even from Colombia, as the woman on the right in the above photo. There were also many waste pickers from Central America, Asia and the United States. Now, a short documentary film about the New York canners, called “Redemption,” has been nominated for an Academy Award.  Watch the trailer of “Redemption”