INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF WASTE PICKERS

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

Category: Organizing

MNCR’s stance on the protests in Brazil

MNCR (Brazil’s national waste pickers’ movement) pledges its continual support of the protests happening across Brazil for concrete goals of social and environmental justice but explains why it’s important to keep informed and aware about conservative, elitist and prejudiced groups that have been trying to appropriate the protests to promote their own interests, with the backing of and manipulation by the Brazilian elite and the media monopoly.

Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers: Update from waste pickers in Ujjain

DSS, an NGO based in Ujjain, India organized a waste pickers’ convention in June. The organizers reported that the feedback from the participants was very positive. Many said it was the first time they had participated in something like this and it boosted their confidence to have a government official in their midst interacting with them respectfully.

Waste picker representatives address the International Labour Conference plenary

Waste picker representatives from Brazil, Colombia and India are at the 102th International Labour Conference in Geneva to bring attention to waste picking and recycling as a key sector for green jobs and sustainable development. Please see below the speech of Nohra Padilla, of Colombia, and Alex Cardoso, of Brazil, presented at the plenary.


South African government delegates visiting waste pickers' cooperative CooperLimpa in Diadema to learn about participatory and inclusive waste management models. Photo credit: WIEGO.

Learning from the catadores: the South African government visits the waste pickers of Brazil

In April, officials from the South African Department of the Environment were in Brazil and Colombia to learn about inclusive solid waste management. They visited waste pickers’ movements and cooperatives and spoke with NGOs and city officials. “We are particularly encouraged by the participatory aspects. This is something that resonates with South Africans,” Cobbinah said.


A press conference in March 2013 to address the issue of proper disposal of sanitary napkins. Photo credit: SWaCH.

SWaCH’s “Send it Back” Campaign Fights for Proper Disposal of Used Sanitary Napkins to Protect Waste Pickers’ Health

SWaCH waste pickers’ cooperative began bringing attention to a little known but very important issue more than two years ago: the proper disposal of used sanitary napkins. After sending numerous requests to manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers and receiving no response, SWaCH came up with a last resort. The cooperative collected used sanitary napkins and sent them back in boxes to the companies’ corporate offices as a gift on International Women’s Day to make them experience firsthand what waste pickers undergo while handling such waste.

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.


Pagination