The updates we publish in this newsletter are by waste pickers and allies. Sometimes we re-post directly from what individuals or groups have shared via social media, websites or emails; sometimes we edit, organize and translate. The goal is to disseminate information from waste pickers across borders. As usual, we invite waste pickers’ organizations and allies to keep sending updates of their struggles and victories. We want to make this information-sharing platform more inclusive and participatory! This process is supported by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing.
If you want to be part of the editorial committee or learn how to post your own updates on globalrec.org please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear waste pickers and allies,
We are happy to share with you the 21th issue of Struggles and Victories: Waste Pickers on the Frontline, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers newsletter, with news from all around the world.
Communications support team for GlobalRec.org
- India’s cleanest city Indore evicting waste-pickers from work (India)
- Indian waste pickers in Pune lose homes in massive fire (India)
- Waste Management in the Industrial Township of Bengaluru (India)
- Waste-pickers Demand Inclusion in Karnataka’s Waste Management By-laws (India)
- Indore Waste Management Model is Incomplete Without Participation of Waste-pickers (India)
- Status of Waste-pickers in 2nd Cleanest City in India- Bhopal (India)
- Argentina: FACCyR Implements an Inclusive Recycling System in the city of Zárate (Argentina)
- FACCyR Promotes a New Program to Care for Beaches with Inclusion (Argentina)
- RENAREC Celebrates 10 Years Organizing Grass-root Waste Pickers (Ecuador)
- Argentina: Waste Pickers of FACCyR in Escobar Conquered their Workplace (Argentina)
- Watch the feature film “Waste Picking Stories” (Brazil)
- The Waste Pickers’ Association of Bogota Launches the Plastic Wood Plant (Colombia)
- Landfill and street recyclers for the first time united and organized in South Africa (South Africa)
- In Accra, Kpone landfill organization small steps, big horizon (Ghana)
- Sure We Can’s Challenges and Hopes at the End of 2018 and Beginning of 2019 (United States of America)
From October 17 to 22, 2018, the global exchange of waste pickers’ organizations “Recycling in our hands” was held in the Popular Economy Workers’ Confederation (CTEP) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Waste pickers coming from coastal cities of ten different countries like Senegal, South Africa, Ghana, India, USA, France, Italy, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Canada, and delegates from many cities of Argentina participated in the meeting. During the days of the meeting, the objective was to discuss about and make an exchange of the difficulties and challenges undergone by the waste picking sector (known as “cartonero” in Argentina) in a context in which the economy excludes the working poor, without rights or recognition. Also, considering models of organization which have made advancements in wage rights, some strategies were delineated to keep on fighting for the right to work and work with rights. The exchange’s agenda consisted of visits to many organization experiences in dumpsites, in central and peripheral cities, to their recyclable materials processing centers, and to innovative experiences such as the environmental promotion made by women waste pickers. Also, the delegations attended different conferences and debate sessions concluding in this final document (download PDF). The final document is available also in the following languages: Français, Spanish and Português.
India’s cleanest city Indore evicting waste-pickers from work (India) by The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers members (12/09/2018)
The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers condemns exclusion of waste-pickers in Indore. To prepare for Swachh Bharat Survey 2019 (Clean India Survey 2019), the Indore Municipal Corporation is ‘catching, evicting, penalizing and assaulting waste-pickers for doing their work. This is in gross violation of fundamental ‘right to work’ of Indian constitution and Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission) guidelines. The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers has written a strongly worded letter to various departments of government at the national level, including National Human Rights Commission and provincial letter. The copy of the same has been sent to Indore municipal authorities. The Alliance members have reiterated their demand of inclusion as has been enshrined in Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 i.e. Right to access waste, right to occupational identity cards, right to be involved in waste collection and operations of waste management facilities. The authorities should take strong actions against those who are violating the norms and pushing waste-pickers to the margins.
Indian waste pickers in Pune lose homes in massive fire (India) by SWaCH (11/28/2018)
Many members of one of the world’s largest waste picker organizations lost their homes to a massive fire in the dense Patil Estate slum on the banks of the Mula river in Shivajinagar Pune, India. Fire is a major threat to waste pickers around the world, both at their work sites and in informal settlements where they live. SWaCH appeals to residents in Shivajinagar, Aundh, Pashan, khadki and other places in the region to show compassion at this time. Please do not complain if waste waste pickers do not collect your garbage for the next two three days. Kindly bear with them and help them get their lives back together. Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) welcomes any donations in cash or kind. Please call or SMS or Whatsapp Maitreyi on +91 97 65 999496 if you wish to donate. Bank account information: Account Name : KASHTAKARI PANCHAYAT Account Number : 00000032036166729 Account Description : FCRA -SAVINGS BANK ACCOUNT INR Branch : ERANDWANE ,PUNE IFS Code : SBIN0004618: SWIFT CODE: SBININBB218. Please send an email to email@example.com with the transaction ID once done. Published in SWaCH Facebook. November 28th, 2018.
Waste Management in the Industrial Township of Bengaluru (India) by Kabir Arora (10/11/2018)
The Electronic City Industrial Town Authority (ELCITA) in Bengaluru has involved Hasiru Dala Innovations (HDI) in providing waste management services to the industrial units set up in the Electronic City Area. HDI collects segregated waste from 90 companies in the area. It ensures that waste is destination bound. Food waste goes for bio-methanization, garden waste is given away to a farmer and dry waste is brought to waste management facility where it is sorted before being sold to the recyclers. The waste management services provide employment to erstwhile waste-pickers, with a minimum salary of INR 12000 and other benefits which are given to the formal workers.
Waste-pickers Demand Inclusion in Karnataka’s Waste Management By-laws (India) by Kabir Arora (08/08/2018)
The waste-pickers and informal waste collectors are deeply upset because of the omission of reference to their inclusion in the draft by-laws on solid waste management to be notified by Karnataka state government. The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers and Hasiru Dala called for a state level waste-pickers consultation, where waste-pickers from six cities of Karnataka participated. They demand that the reference to their inclusion should be there in the final notification of by-laws, as mandated by Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. In this regard, they wrote letter to the state government.
Indore Waste Management Model is Incomplete Without Participation of Waste-pickers (India) by Alliance of Indian Wastepickers (08/03/2018)
The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers members gathered in Indore as a part of ‘Understanding Social Protection for Waste-pickers’ workshop. They were quite disappointed with the fact that the India’s cleanest city-Indore has excluded waste-pickers from its celebrated waste management model. They all got together and wrote a letter to municipal authorities of Indore, provincial and national government to ensure that waste-pickers are included in the waste management of Indore city.
Status of Waste-pickers in 2nd Cleanest City in India- Bhopal (India) by Kabir Arora (07/25/2018)
The waste-pickers are backbone of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission). Their role is recognized in Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, notified by Government of India. Yet their situation is quite deplorable in the 2nd most cleanest city of India. Their housing is temporary and is mere tin shed, the quality of water supplied is questionable, the toilets constructed for them are not in best shape. The waste-pickers in Bhopal are from different places, a lot of them belong to indigenous communities like Gonds & Bhils, the oldest inhabitants of Indian sub-continent. They left their place of origin because of lack of work and in the city they end up waste-picking as this was the only opportunity available to them. Some waste-pickers have been evicted, some may be evicted sooner or later- thanks to the absence of policy regarding their housing.
FACCyR Implements an Inclusive Recycling System in the city of Zárate (Argentina) by FACCyR (12/13/2018)
After several months of discussions among recyclers’ cooperatives of Zárate (Argentina), which take part of FACCyR – CTEP, they got the local deliberative Council to pass a bill implementing a Socially Managed System of Recycling. The new regulation takes into account the need for public policies to consider the demands of waste pickers and the importance of differentiated systems of recycling.
FACCyR Promotes a New Program to Care for Beaches with Inclusion (Argentina) by FACCyR (01/25/2019)
In the coastal cities of Argentina, the female waste pickers who are Environmental Promoters will work together with recyclers to recover waste materials from beaches. This summer started with the creation of a program called “Clean Beaches”, which was launched by the Argentine Federation of Waste Pickers and Recyclers together with the Municipality of Ensenada (Province of Buenos Aires). The program has two main purposes: on the one side, it recognizes the work of recycling materials by the waste pickers who are part of FACCyR. On the other side, it encourages environmental promotion among tourists who visit and enjoy the beaches of the city. Besides, the program considers that these recycled materials be processed by waste pickers, thus avoiding tons of SUW being buried. Through this system, Argentine recyclers contribute to preserve the Atlantic coasts, and at the same time, they create job positions and encourage social inclusion.
RENAREC Celebrates 10 Years Organizing Grass-root Waste Pickers (Ecuador) by RENAREC (01/23/2019)
Through a solemn session, a forum, an exhibition and cultural events about inclusive recycling, RENAREC celebrated its 10 years organizing grass-root waste pickers. There was an account of the achievements made during this decade and of the challenges that RENARC will face in order to get the recognition and appreciation of the service that grass-root waste pickers provide. In the forum, there was a debate on the situation of environmental managers in Ecuador in relation to the way they are following toward the formal recognition as public providers of the recycling service. RENAREC is made up of about 50 waste pickers’ associations that are nationally organized, and gathers more than 1,500 waste pickers and their families in Ecuador. Read full article in Spanish.
Waste Pickers of FACCyR in Escobar Conquered their Workplace (Argentina) by FACCyR (10/21/2018)
More than 300 waste pickers of Escobar, in the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, conquered a warehouse that was granted by the municipality. There they will be able to gather and classify material from near cities. This conquest is a great step on the way toward the development of new and better policies for public recycling oriented to have social inclusion as its foundation. Read full article in Spanish.
Watch the feature film “Waste Picking Stories” (Brazil) by Setor de Comunicação MNCR (12/17/2018)
The feature film “Waste Picking Stories” (Catadores de História) directed by filmmaker Tania Quaresma was released on online platforms on December 13, 2018. It received three awards at the 49th edition of the Brasilia Festival of Brazilian Cinema. “What we heard the most during all of the shooting process was about the importance of men and women waste pickers being seen, being acknowledged,” said Tânia Quaresma. The film depicts the lives of waste pickers from several regions of Brazil. It is a moving experience thanks to the richness of the testimonies and the intense dialogues with the waste pickers, who were part of the entire production process in public screenings of parts of the film and by sharing their opinions about the results. Additionally, waste pickers Ronei Alves, from Brasilia, and Alex Cardoso, from Porto Alegre, were part of the production team as Assistant Directors The film is already available in youtube.
The Waste Pickers’ Association of Bogota Launches the Plastic Wood Plant (Colombia) by Federico Parra (01/14/2019)
On Friday, December 14, 2018, in Bogota, the plastic wood processing plant of the Waste Pickers’ Association of Bogota was launched. This event is of special importance for all the waste pickers of Colombia, since it became possible due to the remuneration coming from the recognition that waste pickers and their organizations have received as public service providers of waste recovery in Colombia and also, since it embodies the right to expand across the recycling value chain; a right which is also enshrined in the National Constitution of Colombia. This plant will enable the processing of multiple types of post-consumer plastic packages which do not have a market in Colombia. With them, construction solutions will be produced in the first place for waste pickers and then, in a wide range of opportunity niches. This process had the technical support of the Foundation “llena una botella de amor” (fill up a bottle with love), which started this productive initiative several years ago in the municipality of Rionegro (Antioquia). Today, they have increased their effort to build housing solutions around the whole country and in other Latin American countries.
Landfill and street recyclers for the first time united and organized (South Africa) by African Reclaimers Organisation (09/04/2018)
On the 2nd Septemeber 2018, African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) introduced itself in Johannesburg, South Africa, as the first organisation that unites those who work recycling in landfills and streets. The reclaimers decided to frame this organisation as African because it incorporates all those who are engaged in the recycling trade regardless of their nationality. South Africa is ranked third behind countries such as Sweden on its recycling rates. These impressive rates are almost all entirely due to informal recyclers who form the foundation of the recycling economy but often ignored by policy-makers and industry. ARO wants to change all this. South Africa needs to increase its recycling rates and recyclers need to be paid for the labour and vital environmental service they provide. Read full article in English.
In Accra, Kpone landfill organization small steps, big horizon (Ghana) by Johnson Doe (12/21/2018)
Inspired by CTEP, the Argentinean union of popular economy workers, specially by wastepickers achievements in Buenos Aires organized in FACCyR, Kpone landfill wastepickers organization is now moving forward by achieving things that “we are late in“, says Johnson Doe, accran delegate to the Global Exchange held in Buenos Aires last October. They are seeking to move forward on recognition of their work, fight against discrimination and worker’s rights. By now, they are focusing on having enough solidarity stick among workers. At the same time, they registered the organization and now have their legal certificate and their bank account to strengthen commercialization of recyclables.
First Informal European meeting of waste pickers and second hands operators (Italy) by Rete ONU and Amelior (01/11/2019)
The first Informal European meeting of waste pickers and second hands operators Towards an European network took place in Torino, on November 21st at Eco dalle Città in Torino, Italia. The meeting was convened by Amelior, Rete ONU and ViviBalon to begin a process of building a European network promoted and focused on waste pickers, which could become a reference point for the second hands sector at European level. In fact, this sector today does not have a broad and important representation, that can dialogue with the Community institutions and which can represent the needs of the operators. With second hand sector, we mean the workers who go through others’ trash and recollect reusable objects. The participants exchanged information on their activities and shared the good practices that could be the object of comparison and exchange. All the participants stressed the need to have a point of reference in addition to national ones to enhance:
- The profile and identity of waste pickers in Europe.
- The common characteristics of those who work in the second hand sector.
- The need for political representation among institutional actors, starting from the EU.
- The possibility of carrying out common transnational projects.
- The importance of enhancing the social and environmental impact of operators and more generally of the re-use sector.
- The opportunity for waste pickers to become the driver of the re-use sector.
Rete ONU, ViviBalon and Amelior have made available their willingness to work in the coming months to find further contacts in other European countries and resources for which to convene an extended meeting of the sector. Provide your email in the following form if you want to get updates of this process or leave a comment to this post. Provide your email to get updates.
Sure We Can’s Challenges and Hopes at the End of 2018 and Beginning of 2019 (United States of America) by Ana Martínez de Luco (01/10/2019)
We have been revitalized, re-charged and re-energized by the recyclers’ gathering we participated in in October 2018, in Buenos Aires. Back at home in New York City, we are facing challenges with the space we use for our operations. The lease ends at the end of January 2019, and the owner wants to sell it. Sure We Can has the ‘option to buy’ (priority to buy it), but the price ($ 3 million) is not at all doable for us. We are knocking on all possible doors. Thanks to this challenge, we have contacted groups like the New Economy Project; groups that could be good partners for many other areas and concerns during the year ahead.