Ladies and gentlemen the elected municipal officials, you must stop suppressing waste picking and trading, talking about doing so or obsessing over it! Rather, create new market areas as biffins, everywhere, are waiting and expecting a policy worthy of the name, which recognizes the value of the junk trade and provides the space it deserves. Let us speed up the junk business! All to the junk market!
The young, uniformed cartoneros caught the attention of passersby in the crowd not only because of the size of the group – 35 – but because of the worker’s uniform they wore for the pilgrimage. It consists of dark blue pants and jackets lined with neon green strips for visibility. It clearly marked them as workers. The members of the MTE stood out for another reason. They conveyed a seriousness that was in contrast to the many of the chatty, smart phone-carrying teenagers. They are young workers, and they seem older than their years.
A Montevideo bill proposed for January 2014 would create “exclusionary zones” where waste pickers and their horse-drawn carts would not be allowed to enter. The bill involves not only the exclusion of waste pickers but the privatization of recyclables only accessible to so-called “authorized” parties.