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


February 29, 2020

This March 1st, 2020, waste pickers are paying a new homage to the fellow recyclers who were murdered in Colombia 27 years ago. In their honor, this date became a global day in which recyclers coordinate through different days of struggles, activities related to recycling or to the recognition of the recycling in our hands.

Here is a humble sample of what organizations have done this day.

Note: this post will be updated and translated.

Index by region


Waste pickers under threat map

This year, on the occasion of the Global Waste Picker Day (March 1st), the Barcelona Research Group on Informal Recyclers – in collaboration with EnvJustice, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers and WIEGO – releases a thematic map of socio-environmental conflicts in the Global South related to informal recyclers, whose livelihoods are put at greater risk due to a global policy shift towards waste management privatization that limits their access to recyclables. New waste management policies undermine the informal recycling sector in the Global South.

Our Wasteful World: Through the Eyes of Waste Pickers Photo Contest

Waste pickers and waste workers are exposed to waste and the resources found in waste through their everyday practices. Lifelong learning has turned them into distinct experts on waste. Given their experiences with waste they have significant contributions to make to help address the many challenges posed by production, consumption, and waste. We are inviting waste pickers and informal waste workers to participate in this photo contest geared towards promoting the gaze of waste pickers and waste workers. We specifically encourage women and Youth to participate. An initiative of the Recycling Network and Waste Governance project from the Community-based Research Lab, hosted in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria, in Canada in collaboration with WIEGO. More info about the photo contest. Dead line is  April 1st, 2020.

#WasteChat: A Twitter Chat on Waste Picker livelihoods, environmental contributions, and sustainable waste management

On March 4th there will be a Twitter chat hosted by  @WBG_Cities (World Bank Cities) in collaboration with  @WIEGOGLOBAL to enable Spanish translation of the messages. At the beginning of the chat, the host will ask participants to ‘tweet us and say hello’ and then start with a series of questions around waste and livelihoods. We hope you can join us in the conversation. Date: Wedenesday, March 4, 2020. Time: 9am ET / 11am Brazil / 5pm Nairobi. Hashtags: #WasteChat. View the entire thread in Twitter.

Latin America


Two national events have been organized in Bogotá:

  • On Sunday, March 1, there will be a national and international forum on recyclers and recycling.
  • Monday March 2 will be the march to commemorate the national day of the recycler and recycling. Watch video of the march.

Antioquia: order of merit and march for the dignification of living conditions for recyclers

In Medellín there will be two different events:

  • On March 3, the Council of Medellín will deliver the Order of Merit Juan del Corral to the Association of Waste Pickers of Antioquia in its 25 years of work.It is the first such recognition made to the Association.
  • On March 4, the members of the Antioquia Recycling Board will join the public cleaning service providers in the exploitation activity, with the active and real participation of waste pickers in the Metropolitan Area of ​​the Aburrá Valley and the department of Antioquia to commemorate the Day of the Recycler 2020. The activity will consist of a march of approximately 30 minutes in the city of Medellín and will have as a final destination the Parque de Las Luces, where they will meet to express peacefully but forcefully our concerns regarding the dignification of living conditions for waste pickers.


March 1 brings us together to remember those who were disappeared by dark forces that Tuesday of Carnival, when an indifferent society that has always stigmatized us had fun, while they killed 11 waste pickers at the Unilibre in Barranquilla, Colombia. In turn, it reaffirms us in advancing our union, cooperative and collective work for the defense of our rights, and for the demand for affirmative actions for all and all waste pickers by trade. This year, we pay tribute to our Latin American leader Exequiel Stay, who recently left this world, and fought from sun to sun to make us visible.

See you on the streets of Bogotá and Medellín on March 2 and 4!

Popayán: Recycling Day Commemoration February 28, 2020

In commemoration of the Waste Pcikers’ day, it is celebrated on March 1 in memory of the massacre that took place in Barranquilla in 1992, where eleven workers dedicated to this activity were killed, the Municipal Council of Popayán wanted to make a recognition in the Municipal Council from Popayán on February 28, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. to the recycling organizations that have been providing their services for more than 30 years, in order to exalt and recognize the important work they do in our city, since they They are synonymous with solidarity and protection for the environment. Watch vieo.

Argentina: meeting with allies of the environmental world in Buenos Aires

On March 2, Argentine “cartoneros” (waste pickers) in the city of Buenos Aires, belonging to the Argentine Federation of Cartoneros, Carreros y Recicladores (FACCyR), will host a meeting with allies from the environmental world, climate justice and other NGOs, etc. to plan a common strategy against the constant threat of privatization of the recycling service through incineration.

Also, in different cities of the country such as Rosario, Trelew, Córdoba, La Plata, Lincoln, Ensenada, Santa Fe, this day will be commemorated by assembling in the workspaces of colleagues with their local allies.

Trelew, Patagonia

Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:00 pm, presenting the body of Recuperadores Urbanos de Barrio INTA (neighborhood Urban recuperators)  and welcoming waste pickers who have spent years in our city working in this activity, spreading the cardboard work and its socio-environmental benefits. More information in their Facebook announcement.


Together Trabajadores del Ambiente (FACCyR Córdoba) with the municipality of Córdoba and the "Cooperativa 7 de Febrero".

Together Trabajadores del Ambiente (FACCyR Córdoba) with the municipality of Córdoba and the “Cooperativa 7 de Febrero”.

Together Trabajadores del Ambiente (FACCyR Córdoba) with the municipality of Córdoba and the Cooperativa 7 de Febrero organized a meeting where they presented their demands  and in which they were able to exchange the work that each cooperative does, the situation in each municipality where they operate and the way forward in the implementation of the Recycling program of the Federation in each municipality. More information in their Facebook announcement.


In memory, the death of the recycling leader Exequeil Estay is still recent.We collected in this In Memoriam: Exequiel Estay Tapia a reminder and messages of thanks and solidarity.the wastepicker movement lost one of its strongest leaders, and certainly one of the most visible and well known recycler from Latinamerica, the Chilean Exequiel Estay Tapia. He dedicated his past two decades of life to the cause of international movement building, being responsible for many years of the Redlacre secretariat  (the Latin American waste picker network) among his national commitments to the waste picker cause in Chile. Read their statement for Global Waste Pickers’ day 2020 (in Spanish) .


The national movement of waste pickers (MNCR) has made different actions against incineration:

Minas Gerais State

Conmemorating Global Waste Picker day: MNCR women draft gender work plan in Minas Gerais State. Watch video.

This is what the Portuguese message says written by the waste picker Jennifer in the context of a capacity building workshop for women with the MNCR Minas Gerais Chapter in Belo Horizonte:

To our comrades that fought so hard but have gone.
We continue the struggle and are resisting today, we are more organized and empowered, discussing gender within our cooperatives and outside them, also creating spaces for the voice of the youth so that we can be the change we have dreamed of – skilled, connected and empowered.

It is impossible to speak about the MNCR without speaking about gender since everyone knows how we commit ourselves within and outside the recycling chain and that we, the “Bonitas” (beautiful fighters), are the majority in the movement and will firmly hold to our struggles.
MNCR Always Present.


Dakar, Senegal

On March 1st, the  waste pickers of the Bokk Diom association will support a silent march of waste pickers and a memorandum that will be presented at the government level next day. Before this march, they will organize a press conference on February 26 to communicate about the importance of this day’s commemoration for waste pickers. It is the first time in Senegal that we will see waste pickers making a demonstration with proposals (an authorization request has already been transmitted to the authorities). This action is part of the plan to fight waste pickers who demand that their counter-proposal to the new Mbeubeuss landfill modernization project be taken into account.

On December 28, waste pickers organized their elections in a democratic manner of 2019 and intend to work on the recognition of their work and the security of their livelihoods for a greater number in the project of the State of Senegal and World Bank, but also to open opportunities to integrate the next waste management responsibility schemes with the municipalities.

Accra, Ghana

For the March 1st 2020 Kpone Landfill Organization has planned a health walk through the streets to make visible their work in the community. They are also planning a pilot community collection,  as an alternative model for the waste pickers in Kpone emphasizing on the economic and environmental benefits of their work. They will organize a press conference on that day to promote their pilot and express their day to day challenges: health, government support, stigmatization, plastic ban by government, and others.

North America


New York: Sure we Can, organized waste pickers in Brooklyn NY, fight their eviction

Sure We Can is a community space, sustainability hub, and redemption center located in Bushwick, Brooklyn NY. At our site, canners, or those who collect and redeem bottles and cans to earn a living, come together with artists, students, and neighbors to envision a better world, expressed through recycling, gardening, composting, and art. SWC goes beyond livelihood support through community, providing dignity and building advocacy and by forging alliances at local, national, and global levels. SWC goes beyond livelihood support through advocacy and by forging alliances at local, national, and global levels. Now, that world is threatened: we need help to purchase the land on which we have grown, where we currently operate under the shadow of eviction. Read full story.

Portland: Ground Score, a new waste picker organization in the USA 

A new waste picker association took root in the United States in 2019, and this year will be its first time celebrating International Waste Picker Day on March 1st. Portland, Oregon’s Ground Score Association is a fast-growing group of can and bottle collectors and dumpster divers who organize to access other low-barrier waste management opportunities like event waste management, and litter cleanup. Ground Score has non-profit status thanks to the fiscal sponsorship of a respected local non-profit called Trash for Peace. Ground Score has funding from private donations, profits from jobs performed, as well as the city’s Metro regional government. Read full story.


Valoristes, Vancouver

Little-known in Quebec, International Waste Pickers’ Day pays tribute to all those people who dedicate part of their lives to recovering recyclable materials, including returnable containers. In Quebec, almost 80% of the content returned is returned to the recycling system each year and waste pickers contribute to the collective effort for more inclusive management of our residual materials and a greener environment. Coop Les Valoristes.

Binners project, Montreal

Binners’ Project has been operating social enterprise programs around waste sorting since 2016. These programs have evolved from picking up refundable containers from events and businesses, to fee-for-service arrangements where binners are compensated for their contributions in ensuring waste is sorted into the correct recycling streams. This year, we expanded this program further to daily waste sorting at Vancouver Convention Centre alongside 7 other ongoing contracts. These year-round partnerships ensure binners have access to income opportunities during the slower winter months. This year we also expanded our social enterprise programs to include a new offering: Waste audits. Waste audit results can be used to provide next steps for residential, commercial, and institutional sites to improve upon their current systems through training and waste education, signage, and processes to change the behaviour around proper recycling. This year, we completed a waste audit with Simon Fraser University (SFU) at their Burnaby Campus. SFU was particularly interested in understanding its use of single-use plastics and products (SUPPs) over a 2 day period.


Rete ONU, Italy

In January 2020, Rete ONU, the Italian national network of operators of used materials, participated in a stakeholder meeting convened by the Italian Ministry of the Environment on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). In this meeting, Rete ONU has strongly asked to implement democratic governance schemes for the management of the EPR, to ensure that second-hand operators, even the smallest and most vulnerable, have a voice and the possibility to decide. In fact, there is a risk that producers of new items will take over the organizational and operational control of the EPR, applying policies that discourage reuse and the popular economies that historically implement it.

Amelior, France

AMELIOR is organizing this Sunday March 1st from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Montreuil, 89 boulevard Chanzy, a day of meetings and public exchanges about waste pickers (“biffins et biffines”). Next markets on Sunday March 8 avenue denfert rochereau Paris 14eme, Wednesday March 11 at Croix de Chavaux in Montreuil, Wednesday April 8 at Croix de Chavaux in Montreuil, Sunday April 19 Boulevard de la Villette Paris 10eme Sunday April 26 avenue denfert rochereau Paris 14eme …. Read the full stors (in French).

For a city without the excluded, for a society without a slave, no lawless worker without rights! La biffe vaincra!

Amelior Association waste pickers commemorating Global Waste Pickers Day on March 1st, 2020.

AMELIOR organise ce dimanche 1er mars de 13h à 17h à Montreuil, 89 boulevard Chanzy, une journée de rencontres et d’échanges publiques autour des biffins et biffines. Prochains marchés le dimanche 8 mars avenue denfert rochereau Paris 14eme, le mercredi 11 mars à croix de Chavaux à Montreuil, Le mercredi 8 avril à croix de Chavaux à Montreuil, Le dimanche 19 avril Boulevard de la Villette Paris 10eme Le dimanche 26 avril avenue denfert rochereau Paris 14eme…. Lire l’histoire complète.

Pour une ville sans exclu, pour une société sans esclave, aucun travailleur biffin sans droit ! La biffe vaincra!