The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers is a networking process supported by WIEGO, among thousands of waste picker organizations with groups in more than 28 countries covering mainly Latin America, Asia and Africa.
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Silvio Ruiz Grisales

Silvio Ruiz Grisales is a waste picker from Bogotá, Colombia. He is involved in three waste picker groups in Colombia: The Colombian Association of Waste Pickers (Asociación Colombiana de Recicladores – GAIAREC), the Waste Pickers’ Cooperative of Bogotá (ARB ESP), and the National Association of Waste Pickeres (ANR). He is also a representative of the Latin American and Caribbean network of waste pickers (Red Lacre).

Silvio began working as a waste picker in 1982, at the age of 12. At that time, he worked in the city of Manizales.

The dumpsite that he worked at had a cooperative called Cooperativa Prosperar. He was elected director of the cooperative when he was 17 years old. Since then, he’s continued to work as a leader and organizer within many organizations. He’s been involved in the creation of recycling projects.

“The work of waste pickers is one of the most important in our social history,” said Silvio. “It mitigates the devastating effects of consumerism and ‘development’ and it’s carried out by the poorest of working class people. It should be recognized by the society as an environmental public service for which we as waste pickers should be valued and paid.”