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

Check translation:

On the fourth day of the Congress of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers, delegates as well as observers and guests of the event visited several waste picker cooperatives in Buenos Aires to learn about their collective management model. 

The day began with a working tour of the streets. “Our effort generates a model of care for the environment but also income. We are conquering the streets day by day and people are becoming more aware. I hope they fight for a law where every neighbor separates waste at home,” said Gerardo Serrano, a grassroots waste picker, during one of the visits. “We are still not recognized as workers, but we unite to fight. We do all this for our family.”

Field visit in Avellaneda cooperative.

Lorena Barrios, a waste picker as well, added that being part of an organization means they can sell the material better at a different price: “We feel like we are defended. Besides, in the cooperative they have a canteen and it is often the only meal of the day.”

The group then headed to the Recicladores Unidos de Avellaneda cooperative, where 200 waste pickers work, recycling more than 100 tons per month. Leonor Larraburu, leader of FACCYR, in her welcoming remarks, emphasized that “the struggle is organized and united, so that no one is left out.”

Yoni Castillo, president of the Cooperative, reminded all the leaders present at the visit that “We are not representatives to fill our mouths, but to remember where we came from. We had the opportunity and now we want to leave the best legacy.”

In the evening, an international farewell party was held at the Zamorano Center in Buenos Aires, with artistic tango presentations and a dinner with the delegations. 

More information about the field visits can be found here.