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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This March 1st, 2021, waste pickers paid a new homage to the fellow waste pickers who were murdered in Colombia in 1992. 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 our work.

#WastePickersDay #DiaDelReciclador

Recycling Without Waste Pickers is Garbage

Waste pickers around the world are tirelessly organizing themselves to seek protection and recognition for their work. However, serious threats to the work and rights of recyclers have emerged and become entrenched in different parts of the globe.

Some of these threats are part of a model that seeks to hand over the work and wealth derived from waste to private companies, depriving waste pickers of their livelihood: access to waste and its subsequent commercialization. This video showcases all the threats to the work of latent waste pickers around the world today. The threats are a constant in their work, but the video assumes that because the threats are global, the resistance and struggle against them must be equally global and in solidarity within the working class.

Table of contents

Latin America
North America


Senegal #

Celebration of the 1st of March 2021 of Bokk Diom in front of the police station in Mbeubeus: an hommage in memory of the Mebubeus dead waste pickers and press briefings to address requests to the authorities.



Nigeria #

The National Union of Scrap and Waste Workers of Nigeria (NUSWON) has organized a workshop for waste pickers. It was covered by the news: Consider us among first to receive COVID-19 vaccines – Waste pickers.

Message from Waste Pickers in Lagos (Nigeria) for Global Waste Pickers Day 2021.

Mali #

From Mali (Ibrahim messages): Hello, following our event of March 1 and the city hall has called us. We are already there and waiting. Thank you all

Ghana #

Kpone Landfill Waste Pickers Association published a press release demanding:

  1. Due to consultation with the delegates of the Association. Waste pickers should be consulted on what adequate livelihood safeguards measures are needed now that the dumpsite has been decommissioned, and these safeguards should be provided.
  2. The government should target waste pickers as a group in need of COVID-19 relief support measures: PPEs, food items, financial aid, medical aid, and other necessities to address the extraordinary drop in earnings and increase in stress and risk caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Immediate integration to the municipal SWM systems through the provision of contracts for recycling service providers and secure conditions for work.
  4. Requisite logistics, infrastructure, and subsidies and assisted to secure community waste management contracts.
  5. Recognition of, and effective inclusion of waste pickers through their membership-based organizations in decision-making processes and structures that have implications for waste pickers.

Democratic Republic of Congo #

Meeting of women waste picker at the headquarters of the Congolese Women’s Rights League to discuss the 1st of March.

South Africa #

SAWPA: Press release on the 1st of March.


India #

Hasiru Dala (Bangalore)

Hasiru Dala is painting these murals on a building in the heart of the city. They are on Wastepickers and will be inaugurated on International Wastepickers Day. More info about the murals.

“Today at Hasiru Dala we had a waste-pickers community leadership training and we focused on the contribution of the waste pickers in waste management of the city, fundamental rights and organizing”.

SWACH (Pune)



Latin America

Red Lacre (the international network of Waste Picker organizations in Latin America) has released a manifest for Global Waste Pickers Day: “We are living in complex times in every sense, the injustices of the past have new faces and the political, health, environmental and humanitarian scenarios are very critical”. Read full statement (in Spanish).

March 1st. 10.00 am. Closing dumpsites webinar, organized by Red Lacre, MNRP, FAS Panamá:


Colombia #

The national association of waste pickers of Colombia (ANR) is organizing a demonstration for March 1st.

The Association of Waste Pickers of Bogotá (ARB) is also supporting the demonstration, as well as the other regional associations and cooperatives.

Follow Cooperativa Planeta Verde for more updates.

Brazil #

The National Movement of Waste Pickers (MNCR) will organize a live event on March  1st.

In Commemoration of International Day of Waste Pickers: Tribute to Exequiel Estay Tapia
March 1, 2021. From 14:00 to 15:15 hours

Video presentation and discussion on the circular economy from the perspective of grassroots waste picker organizations:

  • The Binner’s Project (Vancouver, Canada).
  • Cooperativa Reciclando Sueños (Buenos Aires, Argentina).
  • CATASAMPA Network Video (São Paulo, Brazil)

Argentina #

There are more than 200,000 cartoneros and carreros (waste pickers) who, day by day, recover thousands of tons of waste, reducing the environmental impact and generating a better world, a healthier environment. Despite this, we are still demanding full recognition of our rights as workers, and we continue to suffer persecution and stigmatization.
It is for this reason that we demand:

  • The urgent sanction of the Recycling Law.
  • Public policies for waste management with social inclusion that recognize our experience and knowledge.
  • Municipal waste recovery systems in conjunction with cooperatives of cartoneros.
  • Waste recovery should no longer be a crime

Without cartoneros and cartoneras there is no recycling!
Read the full statement.

Chile #

Waste Pickers from Valparaíso fighting for their demands, we were able to talk to the authorities of the municipality and commit to a working table.

Exequiel Estay (the name of the future centro de acopio) is the name of the historical waste picker leader in Latin America and Chile. Read the in memorial Globalrec published here.

“Estimados compañeros informamos a todas y todos que mañana se hará la entrega oficial del terreno donde construiremos nuestro centro de acopio Exequiel Estay, queremos compartir nuestra felicidad y logró con todos nuestros amigos y a nuestra gran familia de recicladores de la RED LACRE”

México #

Solid Waste Workers’ Association called Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, a workers’ association that gathers people who work at an open dumping site, which was created 26 years ago in the district of Dolores Hidalgo, State of Guanajuato, Mexico

North America

The regional network of waste picker organizations in North America is organizing a photo contest. Poster pdf.




France #


On the occasion of the International Day of Recycling Biffins Recyclers on March 1st. Amelior is gathering to support the biffins (waste pickers). Meeting at 12:00 noon Monday, March 1, 2021, on the square in front of the town hall of the 20th arrondissement (metro Gambetta line 3), Montreuil, Paris.

Against the repressive policies of exclusion and spoliation of the biffins workers in Porte Montreuil, and everywhere else.

  • For the local organization of the biffin-recyclers’ markets and the respect, the recognition, the right to decent work for all biffin-recyclers.
  • Against exclusion, unemployment, and poverty, the urgent application of the votes and decisions of the democratic votes of the Paris Council and the 20th Arrêté in favor of the creation of biffin markets self-managed by organized biffins.
  • Only the satisfaction of our demands will allow the development of the popular economy of collection, reuse, and recycling, for the benefit of the whole society.
  • Places and markets for everyone!