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

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This March 1st, 2022, 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.

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. On this day, Globalrec invited binners, canners, waste pickers and allies from organizations across the world to record videos and send the world a very important message: Recycling Without Waste Pickers is Garbage!

Table of contents

Latin America
North America



Globalrec Delegation at UNEA 5.2

Globalrec’s delegation made it to Nairobi and made a strong statement in UNEA5.2, focusing on reducing plastic pollution. The message is loud and clear: plastic waste management without waste pickers is garbage. Our t-shirts were a success and for sure got everyone’s attention.


This declaration “Call for Recognition of Waste-pickers in International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastics Pollution” was read by Soledad Mella, representative of the Global Alliance of Waste pickers and president of the Asociación Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de Chile (ANARCH), during the 5th UNEA Plenary session on February 28th, 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. – Read the full declaration “Call for Recognition of Waste-pickers in International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastics Pollution”:

Official recognition

It is a historical moment for the Waste Pickers movement! It’s the 1st time that informal recyclers are mentioned in the United Nations Environmental Resolution!

The statement mentions that their contribution in collecting, sorting and recycling plastics is recognized, and it further states that we need to learn from the best practices of informal and cooperative settings. Watch the exact moment when UNEA5.2 approves the adoption of a mandate to negotiate a Plastics Treaty to End Plastic Pollution.

Participation in other panels and events

John Chweya, from Globalrec’s delegation, participated in UNEA as a panelist in Gender Dimensions of the Implementation of Chemicals and (Plastic) Waste policies protecting vulnerable groups and the environment by the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development.

Message from the organizers of the meeting at Kibera Dumpsite: “We take this opportunity to thank the Global Alliance of Waste pickers for visiting us. We learnt and networked with like minded people from India, Colombia and Chile. We also had 9 groups represented and Dandora Self Help Group too.”

Meetings with UNEA president and others

Globalrec’s official delegation of met Mr. Espen Barth Eide, President of UNEA and Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment.

Globalrec’s official delegation of Waste Pickers met Mr. Espen Barth Eide, President of UNEA and Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment. They had lunch before UNEA’s opening and discussed the role and importance of informal workers in collecting, sorting and recycling plastics and waste.

The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers delegation also met:

  • Mr. Amit Love, Scientist, Hazardous Waste Management, and representative of Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India in the #UNEA5.2 negotiations. (He is also the author of EPR guidelines. He has invited the Alliance of Indian Waste pickers (AIW) representatives to meet him in Delhi. He told the@ that the norms in India mandate waste pickers’ inclusion and integration so any resolution in UNEA5.2 on informal workers and waste pickers will have the endorsement of the Government of India).
  • Mr. Magin Herrera López, Vice Minister of Environment, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Forest Management and Development of Bolivia.
  • Mr. Lino Santacruz, Alternative representative of Mexico in UNEP and UN HABITAT, who is participating in #UNEA5.2 negotiations.
  • Chilean ambassador Maria Alejandra Guerra in Kenya



Kenya National Waste Pickers Association’s press conference at the Dandora Dumpsite in Nairobi. Opening the commemorations for International Waste Pickers Day, the Globalrec’s delegates at UNEA visited the Dandora dumpsite, in which there may be more than 6,000 recyclers. They also attended The Kenya National Waste Pickers Association’s press conference while there.



Senegal #

Association Bokk Diom des Récupérateurs et recycleurs de Mbeubeuss organized the presentation of the results of a global survey on waste pickers that they have conducted and at the same time commemorate the day with local authorities and partners to better understand the day. A press conference will also be held.


Members of the Kpone Landfill Wastes Pickers Association on Tuesday joined their colleagues worldwide to celebrate the International Waste Pickers Day at Kpone in the Kpone Katamanso Municipality of the Greater Accra Region.

Nigeria #

National Association of Scrap and Waste Workers of Nigeria (NASWON) has organized a capacity building workshop for its members. They commemorate the International Waste Pickers Day with a training for their executive members on Financial Discipline in partnership with GIZ a service provider from Germany, in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and education work.


Bangladesh #

Grambangla Unnayan Committee is organizing a 3 days long event on celebrating the `International Waste Pickers Day-2022’ with support from Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). The proposed events include,

  1. Rally and a Human Chain, will be jointly organized by Grambangla Unnayan Committee and Waste Pickers Union-Bangladesh (WPUB) near Matuail Waste Dump site, Dhaka on 1st March, 2022;
  2. Seminar titled `Extended Producer Responsibility for Managing Plastic, Medical, E-wastes Including other Municipal & Industrial Wastes and Inhumane Life Conditions of Waste Pickers’ will be organized by Grambangla Unnayan Committee on 2nd March, 2022. Online meeting.
  3. Discussion Meeting on `Women Workers Rights’, with the women and adolescent waste pickers, will be jointly organized by the Waste Pickers Union- Bangladesh (WPUB) and Grambangla Unnayan Committee on 3rd March, 2022.

For the Rally and Human Chain event, the participants (members of Waste Pickers Union-Bangladesh) will be participating in both the event holding rights focused Banner, Packard and Festoons.

For the seminar, a total of 150 participants including government officials, policy makers, teachers, human rights activists have been invited for the seminar. A seminar paper with presentation slides has been prepared. A book titled ‘Situation of Waste Management in Bangladesh and its Legal Framework’ in Bangla, published by Grambangla Unnayan Committee has been distributed to the participants prior to the seminar for their active participation and fruitful discussions.

For discussion meeting, a total of 30 waste pickers were invited by the Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union to share the current scenario of waste picking from the dump site and holding rights for their better livelihood options, health, quality education, decent work, equality and sustainable city in connection with the SDGs (Goals- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11).

India #

Mumbai: Aakar

Aakar Mumbai, with the help of ‘Bisleri Bottle for Change’, facilitated 5 waste picker women who have encouraged their children for education and also women who are doing extraordinary work like auto drivers along with waste picking. A video on waste picker women’s life struggle was also launched during the event!

Mumbai: Stree Mukti Sanghatana

Stree Mukti Sanghatana has organized a women waste picker’s meet-up, where officials from Thane Municipal corporation were present. Waste picker women have also shared their demands and also sung songs about unity, life struggles, the importance of self-help groups and education. Also, municipal officers discussed several Thane Municipal Corporation schemes with the waste picker women in the meeting. Also organized a health camp for Waste Pickers in G-South Worli and T-ward Mulund in which Eye checkup, hemoglobin test, Diabetes test and anti tetanus toxoid were done. 100 waste picker women got the benefit from this camp. Tweet link.


Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) has organized a tribute program for 11 workers who have lost their lives in the Columbia massacre. In this program, waste pickers have shared their opinion and challenges which they are facing in their everyday lives. For this program, Mr. Shankar Gore, Commissioner of Ahmednagar was present.

Pune: SWaCH

International Waste Pickers Day was observed across Pune city in remembrance of waste pickers from Columbia who lost their lives. Local authorities from Pune Municipal Corporation acknowledged and appreciated waste pickers’ efforts and honored them for their contribution to the city’s health, cleanliness and environment. Organized by SWACH coop. At @globalrec_org and @swachcoop Twiter accounts.

Kolhapur: Avani Sanstha

On the occasion of International Waste Pickers Day, Avani Sanstha conducted a dry waste collection drive at Kolhapur. Around three tons of plastic waste was collected. Also, the organization organized a waste picker’s women meet-up, where 423 waste pickers were present!

Bangalore: Convention by Hasiru Dala

Hasiru Dala organized a convention on March 3rd, 2022 to commemorate Global Waste Picker’s Day. Venue: Bangalore. Kondajji Basappa Auditorium | Bharat Scouts and Guides | Palace Road by Thyajya (Punaruthpadane) Shramika Sangatane, Karnataka and Hasiru Dala.

Hasiru Dala together with EMPRI presented recently the results of a Karnataka-wide Brand Audit: Who are Karnataka’s top plastic polluters?


Latin America

Red Lacre is the international network of Waste Picker organizations in Latin America.

Colombia #

The National Association of Waste Pickers of Colombia (ANR) is organizing a huge demonstration for March 1st. Waste pickers from all over the country in Colombia, where the First National Minga of Waste Pickers is being prepared to celebrate Waste Pickers’ Day.

You can read more about the rallies and negotiations in this article (In Spanish) Minga recicladora en Colombia: ¡Nada que celebrar, todo por reclamar!


We have no reason to celebrate. Six years after the issuance of Decree 596 of 2016, we are denied preferential treatment, persecuted, and prevented from growing. Follow Cooperativa Planeta Verde for more updates:

Brazil #

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

Alex Cardoso presents his Degree Thesis

March 1st is the International Day of Waste Pickers. This was the date chosen by Alexandro Cardoso (@alexcatador) to present his Degree Thesis in Social Sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) . With the title “TheWaste Picker: recycling humanities, re-signifying waste (and) sharing the social culture of recycling”, Alex places himself as an active researcher when studying the category of which he is part. The presentation took place in the recycling shed of the Cooperative of Collectors of Recyclable Materials of Cavalhada (Ascat). It  is available in MNCR web platforms. Alexandro Cardoso is 42 years old and in 2021 published the book “Do lixo a bixo”, in which he tells his personal trajectory in dialogue with the work of collecting recyclable materials.


Hoy conmemoramos “1 de marzo” como el Día Mundial del Reciclador. Hacemos un llamado a las instituciones públicas y privadas, y a la ciudadanía a reconocer nuestra labor e incluirnos en la agenda nacional como actores importantes para la gestión de residuos y la economía del país.



France #

Amelior Association has organized for March 1st at 13:00h, of the town hall of the 20th arrondissement in Paris (France) a demonstration to demand. the end of dump trucks, repressive policies of exclusion and police confiscation.

Press coverage