GLOBAL ALLIANCE OF WASTE PICKERS
GLOBAL ALLIANCE OF
WASTE PICKERS
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.
Supported by Logo WIEGO

Category: Organizing

Members of Kabad se Jugad making art from recyclable materials. Photo credit: Rolando Politi.

Women’s waste picker cooperative in New Delhi transforms recyclables into art

In March of this year, Kabad Se Jugad, a women’s cooperative that makes arts and crafts out of recyclable materials launched in the Seemapuri neighborhood of New Delhi. Before forming the cooperative, members survived by collecting waste from the surrounding neighborhoods. In partnership with New York-based artist, Rolando Politi, also known as Recycle and Pray, these waste pickers are transforming these materials into objects and art, “relying on inspiration and creativity (in Hindi: jugad) to guide our production process” and “bringing our talent of improvising from waste to the wider world.”

Nohra Padilla with other winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, Jonathan Deal, Azzam Alwash, Rossano Ercolini, Aleta Baun, Kimberly Wasserman.

Goldman Prize acceptance speech by informal recycler Nohra Padilla + Photos + White House visit

Here is a video of the Goldman Prize acceptance speech of Nohra Padilla, informal recycler and leader of the Colombian waste pickers’ movement. As part of the Goldman Prize, Padilla and other supporters of inclusive waste management (including the director of the Bogotá solid waste management department) were taken on a tour of San Francisco’s Zero Waste program. See the gallery of photos in this post. Also, Nohra Padilla is also scheduled to meet with President Obama. More on that soon!

The article about Nohra Padilla produced by the Goldman Environmental Prize.

Nohra Padilla, informal recycler and leader, wins the Goldman Environmental Prize

Congratulations, Nohra Padilla, informal recycler and leader with the Association of Recyclers of Bogotá and the National Association of Recyclers in Colombia, for winning today the Goldman Environmental Prize for South and Central America. This prize has been called the environmental “Nobel” or “Oscar”. It comes with a $150,000 cash award.


Crónicas de una lucha por la inclusión Recicladores Bogotá

“Chronicle of a Fight for Inclusion: The December 2012 garbage crisis of Bogota” now with English subtitles

“Chronicle of a Fight for Inclusion: The December 2012 garbage crisis of Bogotá” (now with English subtitles) shows organized waste pickers promptly taking actions to reduce the impact of the garbage crisis in Bogota and giving an account of the series of unfortunate events and bad decisions that led to it, and of their struggles and victories throughout time to secure their rights and livelihoods. In doing so, they demonstrate their capacity to provide efficient and quality services to the city’s waste management system.

Image from Cronicas de Una Lucha Por Inclusion - Parte 2

Part 2: “Chronicles of a Fight for Inclusion: The December 2012 Garbage Crisis of Bogotá”

This video discusses Auto 275, a Bogotá law meant to protect waste pickers’ rights as public service providers and to guarantee payment. It led to the court order that resulted in the organized waste pickers of Bogotá receiving priority as service providers and receiving payment for the first time. Auto 275 is explained via interviews conducted by a Bogotá waste picker with government authorities. The version with English subtitles is coming soon!


After going through security protocols, each received a PIN to claim their payment in any teller machine. Once they introduced their PIN in the teller machine, they received their payment. People burst into applause, jubilant shouts and even tears. “No more speeches! No more announcements!”—They shouted.

A time to celebrate! Dreams come true for the organized waste pickers of Bogotá

After over 20 years of fighting for recognition and inclusion in the city’s waste management system, the organized waste pickers of Bogotá finally saw their dreams come true when the municipal government issued them in March their first payment for the collection and transportation of recyclable materials. It was the first time they were paid as public service providers to the city.

Leaders of RECRED, the nascent waste picker’s network in the DRC, held a meeting on March 1st in honor of Global Waste Pickers' Day. Photo credits: RECRED.

March 1st – Global Waste Pickers’ Day celebrated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

A meeting for exchanging and sharing experiences was held on March 1st, 2013, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo in honor of Global Waste Pickers’ Day. Leaders of RECRED, the nascent waste picker’s network in the DRC, got together to discuss three main issues: network activities, health care, and how to strengthen the sector. It was noted that since the first steps towards a national network of waste pickers were taken in October of 2012, a few associations have been cooperating and have made contact with local authorities. The participants discussed the need for appropriate protective equipment at work as well as health insurance. There is a need to create cooperatives for access to microcredit, as well as workspace for selling and storing materials collectively. This meeting allowed members of RECRED to consolidate in order to invite other waste pickers who work individually to join the network.

Les biffins selling their reclaimed materials at the Marche aux Puces (Street Market) in Paris.

New association in Paris, Amelior

The profession of biffins (“waste picker” in french) has been recognized since 1240, and the right to recover materials since 1670. The biffins are skilled in collecting, repairing and upgrading objects and devices, with ancient expertise in sorting and selling.


Kenyan Pickers Doing it For Themselves

Waste pickers in Kenya are fighting to be heard. It has been a slow process of building solid organisation but it is showing results.

In the towns of Nakuru, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi many people view pickers as trouble makers, especially as gangs sometimes operate from dumps. In fact the waste pickers are earning an honest living by collecting, sorting and selling metals such as aluminium, copper and iron as well as plastic bottles and containers, cloth, bones and organic waste.

Waste Pickers from Bogotá Need Your Support #todosconARB


In the city of Bogotá, Colombia, waste pickers of the Recyclers’ Association of Bogota (ARB) have been organizing themselves for more than two decades. ARB is one of the oldest independent waste picker-run associations in the world. But the association and its 2,500 members are not being recognized by the current municipal government of Bogotá. Their livelihoods are threatened by the interests of big companies and members of the government who are trying to take over the profitable business of solid waste management.


Petition for inclusive recycling in Bogotá, Colombia

This is the English translation of the petition for an inclusive  recycling in Bogotá, Colombia.
Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogotá: I want your guarantee of real inclusion of all waste pickers in Bogotá.
I want him to ensure the real inclusion of all waste pickers in Bogotá.”On December 18th 2012, the department of the district government which is responsible for waste management in Bogotá, UAESP, plans to deliver new contracts to fictitious waste picker organizations. It is demonstrating once again a lack of compliance with its agreements, and jeopardizing the livelihoods of thousands of waste pickers and their families.” Read the full petition in English.

The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers at Expocatadores: Highlights

Peter Wilson of Kenya speaks at the Global Alliance panel at Expocatadores
Juliene Mangni, is one of two waste pickers from African countries participating at Expocatadores. This is her first trip outside of Benin. She is the president of an association of 366 women waste pickers in her city of Cotonou, Benin. She and the other women waste pickers sell the plastics, cans and cardboards they collect at a large market. Juliene is trying to improve the situation for the waste pickers. They lack basic equipment for waste picking. Another major issue is that the local government doesn’t acknowledge the waste pickers and provides no support.

Expocatadores – São Paulo, Brazil

Expocatadores is an event for business, experience exchanges, disseminating knowledge and technology for efficient and inclusive waste management. The event, which runs from Nov. 28-30, is hosting 1,500 waste pickers from 25 Brazilian states as well as visitors and government leaders. On Nov. 29, former president Lula Inácio da Silva spoke in the main auditorium. There has also been an international presence, with participation from waste pickers from 12 countries in Latin America as well as India, Benin, and Kenya.

Also happening during Expocatadores is the 3rd National and International Gathering of Waste Pickers, the goal of which is to exchange experiences. The themes debated in the technical seminars focus on the implementation of the National Waste Policy, the closing of open dumps and waste management plans.


Pagination