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 2021 of Struggles and Victories: Waste Pickers on the Frontline” newsletter.
There are many reasons to celebrate the end of a very productive year 2021!
After a long internal process, waste pickers were finally able to develop their own global position on Extended Producer Responsibility. It will be a central document towards the Plastic Treaty process inside UNEA, the United Nations Environment Assembly, as well as in negotiations with companies to protect waste pickers’ right to work and access to waste.
GlobalRec strengthened their internal process by maintaining the Global Ad hoc Committee created at the beginning of the pandemic and shifting towards a Global Advisory group that meets every month with waste picker leaders from 5 continents. Waste pickers delegates in this space have just finalized the 2nd draft of their Constitution towards the formalization of the Global Alliance in the near future.
Now, waste pickers around the world can demonstrate their contributions in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by using the new methodology finally launched during COP26.
We must also take a moment to remember and acknowledge all the losses of comrades due to the pandemic. To all of them, we dedicated all these struggles and victories!
Communications support team for GlobalRec.org
List of articles
- REDLACRE builds a manifesto to guide action towards waste picker threats
- ANARCH addresses the implementation of the new packaging law (Chile)
- Regional assemblies to organize the national movement in Chile (Chile)
- The ANR continues to fight for the rights of waste pickers in Colombia (Colombia)
- MNCR leader Alex Cardoso launches his book: Do Lixo a Bixo (Brazil)
- National mobilization seeks priority in vaccination for Catadores (Brazil)
- Protests in 20 cities in Minas Gerais condemn garbage incineration (Brazil)
- FACCyR presented at ILO (Argentina)
- Waste pickers join forces to fight climate crisis in Argentina (Argentina)
- Criminal Fires Must Stop (Dominican Republic)
- NASWON joins NATCO conference (Nigeria)
- Waste pickers from Bokk Diom work on their integration into waste management (Senegal)
- African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) Wins WWF’s Living Planet Award (South Africa)
- Ground Score provides waste collection services for the unhoused community (United States of America)
- Waste pickers demand expansion of the Bottle Bill in NYC (United States of America)
- Binners’ Project offers a new service: Waste Audits (Canada)
The Global Alliance highlights of 2021 are the following:
Globalrec establishes a working group dedicated to understanding and developing resources for the role of waste pickers in EPR
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has the potential to benefit the environment and to generate decent work in waste management. But for the world’s 22 million informal waste workers, EPR can be harmful. Waste pickers manage 30-80% of the waste in many cities, but EPR is sometimes designed in ways that create barriers to the participation and recognition of waste pickers in the system.For that reason, in 2018, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, with support from WIEGO, established a working group dedicated to understanding and developing resources for the role of waste pickers in EPR — official EPR positions, educative materials, webinars, case studies and more. These resources are shared on their new EPR dedicated website, which is updated as new content is finalized. The working group is composed of waste pickers, organizers, technical experts, policy advisors, and academicians connected to waste picker organizations across five continents.
All the available information is available at EPR.globalrec.org.
We are delighted to inform you that our long-awaited position on Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) is finally ready to go public. In October, Global Rec’s Advisory Committee approved the EPR position as the official position of the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers. To amplify our collective voice on EPR, we invite organizations of Global Rec as well as allies to endorse this position by January 28th, 2022. Your organization can endorse the position by writing to the following email: email@example.com. Please include the name of your organization, city and country, as well as your organization’s logo if one exists. Read the EPR position.
Globalrec creates a Global Advisory Committee to address challenges during the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic made us physically separated, but we Globalrec’s members were able to work together virtually, as we formed our first Global Advisory Committee. Created to address the challenges that the world of waste pickers faced during the pandemic, the Committee was formed in April 2020, and, since then, has held meetings every month, following the struggles and victories from different regions of the world.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Inclusive Recycling: Methodology & Calculator Tool
In 2021, GlobalRec with the support of WIEGO launched a methodology and calculator tool that enables the estimation of greenhouse gas emissions that waste picker groups prevent. The tool, which was developed for waste picker organizations and their supporters, allows for the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions avoided through the following waste treatment methods: diversion of waste from decay in landfills and dumps; recycling; manual sorting and transportation; and diversion of materials from open burning.The Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Inclusive Recycling methodology was commissioned by WIEGO for the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers as part of the Reducing Waste in Coastal Cities project, which is funded by Sida.
Use the Greenhouse Emissions Calculator.
Announcement: Request for proposal to set up the National Database of Waste-pickers (India) by Alliance of Indian Wastepickers (10/14/2021)
The AIW seeks the services of an established firm to develop a web-based database and dashboard to fulfill the data management and reporting needs of the National Database project. The Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers (AIW) is setting up a national database of waste-pickers in India. The database is needed to strengthen organizing work. Further, it will serve as a platform to measure the outreach of the Alliance and its members and to follow up the inclusion of waste-pickers in various social and livelihood protection measures. It will also function as a resource for future advocacy programmes.
RED LACRE builds a manifesto to guide action towards waste picker threats by Red LACRE (12/27/2021)
The document serves as a guide for action and carries strategic messages on several issues. The Latin American and Caribbean Network of Waste Pickers, REDLACRE, developed virtually with the national leaders of the organizations that are members of their network, a process of debate and construction of position against the threat of closure of landfills without labor alternatives for waste pickers and the families who work in them. In this way, the network built a manifesto that serves as a guide for action and carries strategic messages on this issue. Read the manifesto.
Debating recycling laws (Ecuador and El Salvador)
In 2021, several national regulations regarding waste management were issued or regulated, such as the Circular Economy Law in Ecuador, the regulation of the Waste and Recycling Law in El Salvador, to mention a few. In all of the above cases, national organizations of recyclers, with the support of allies and RedLacre, analyzed and debated the impacts of these regulations on waste pickers, and presented objections and requests for modifications to the articles of the regulations during the public consultation periods. It is clear that while these regulations evoke the principles of the circular economy, they do not necessarily recognize or promote the historical, economic, productive and social role of recyclers and their organizations in the waste management and utilization systems.
Regional assemblies to organize the national movement (Chile) by ANARCH (12/27/2021)
Among other topics, the assemblies seek to build cooperatives and develop joint positions on issues such as the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility and Recycling Promotion Law (EPR). The Asociación Movimiento Nacional de Recitadores de Chile ANARCH developed during 2021 a process of regional assemblies of its member organizations throughout the country, with the objective of strengthening itself as a national movement of recyclers. It also seeks to build cooperatives and develop joint positions on issues such as the implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility and Recycling Promotion Law (REP Law), and the struggle for the recognition and protection of the work of recyclers and their organizations. ANARCH achieved by the end of 2019, to establish itself as a national guild currently with more than 2000 members, grouped into 37 regional organizations and led by 56 regional leaders, representing about 60 thousand recyclers and recyclers in Chile.
ANARCH addresses the implementation of the new packaging law (Chile) by ANARCH (12/27/2021)
The new law is expected to become effective as of 2023. Read full document (in Spanish). During the year 2021, ANARCH proposed to make an analysis document regarding the implementation of the law on packaging and packaging in Chile, which will come into force in 2023.The document carries their vision regarding the consequences of this new law, which they have defined as “a threat to us recyclers and a law of privatizing and mercantile character, which favors the generation of business, to the detriment of labor rights and recognition of recyclers and the catastrophic effects on the environment by the exploitation of natural resources and devastating pollution.”The document, entitled “THE BATTLE OF THE INFORMAL”, reflects the view of the workers of the trade, recyclers and waste pickers, on the REP law. The main goal is that the document will become a useful tool to understand a little more about their existence as recycling workers, and that it will be a contribution to the analysis and discussion to enrich and improve it.
The ANR continues to fight for the rights of waste pickers in Colombia (Colombia) by ANR (12/27/2021)
In Colombia, despite the fact that the organized waste pickers’ union won the recognition and remuneration of their work as a public service of waste or recycling before the Constitutional Court of Colombia, national authorities and private actors have distorted these jurisprudential mandates allowing this recognition and remuneration to be taken advantage of by private recycling companies, intermediaries and garbage collection companies. During 2021 The National Association of Waste Pickers (ANR) continues to fight hard for the national and municipal governments to guarantee the rights of the waste picker population in Colombia, and for the norm to truly reflect the spirit of the constitutional orders in favor of waste pickers; to this end, it has developed actions of denunciation, legal actions, mobilization and accompaniment of member organizations in this regard.
MNCR leader Alex Cardoso launches his book: Do Lixo a Bixo (Brazil) by Alex Cardoso (12/27/2021)
The waste picker Alex Cardoso promoted the launching of his book, together with other waste pickers connected to the National Movement of Waste Pickers (MNCR) in Brazil. “Do lixo a Bixo” (From Trash to Freshman) tells a true story of a waste picker of recyclable materials semi-illiterate, black, living in a shack in the outskirts and risky areas, working since his childhood, who became a father at the age of 16, finding himself forced to abandon his studies to provide for his family, but that after 20 years, in a total shift in his life, returns to the school bench, completes his studies, and achieves a place at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Read the full review.
National mobilization seeks priority in vaccination for Catadores (Brazil) by MNCR (07/15/2021)
In Brazil, a joint action of the National Movement of Waste Pickers in Brazil (MNCR) and the legal arms Ancat and Unicatadores have articulated the advancement of vaccination with priorities for waste pickers. The legal advisors of the organizations have prepared letters that have been sent to City Halls, State Governments and other agencies responsible for the vaccination plan. The Public Defenders, the Public Ministry and the Labor Public Ministry have also mobilized to guarantee priority access to immunization for the category. Many states are already well ahead in vaccination and dozens of cities have recognized the essentiality of the collectors’ work and have guaranteed access to vaccination. It is now necessary to charge the governments that have not yet guaranteed the vaccination for waste pickers and to move forward in obtaining rights and investment for the return to normality. With a vaccine in their arms and food on their plates.
Protests in 20 cities in Minas Gerais condemn garbage incineration (Brazil) by MNCR (09/24/2021)
Protests brought together environmentalists and waste pickers on July 21st in a day of struggle against the Ministry of Environment’s edict.Protests over 20 cities in Minas Gerais, Brazil, brought together environmentalists, waste pickers and collectors of recyclable materials on July 21 in a day of struggle against the notice of the Ministry of Environment that induces the route of incineration of garbage for consortia of municipalities of Minas Gerais. The program Lixão Zero, launched by former Minister Ricardo Salles, removed by corruption accusations, has a budget of R$ 100 million to finance mechanized selection plants, without segregation at the source, that is, without selective collection and environmental education. The money comes from environmental fines issued by Ibama against the mining company Vale for the environmental disaster in the municipality of Brumadinho. For MNCR members, the production of CDR (Fuel Derived from Waste) is just a way to disguise the intention of burning the waste, a highly polluting practice, in addition to not implementing the National Policy for Solid Waste. The category also denounces that the public notice for the contracting of the plants does not mention at any moment the work done by the collectors. Dozens of organizations from society have gathered to defend the immediate suspension of the public notice and its revision to be in accordance with the law 12.305/2010. However, the Government of Minas Gerais exempts itself from responsibility by claiming that the public notice is the responsibility of the Federal Government.
FACCyR presented at ILO (Argentina) by FACCyR (06/04/2021)
Our colleague and general secretary of the Federación Argentina de Cartoneros, Carreros y Recicladores, Jackie Flores, gave a speech at the International Conference, organized every year by the International Labor Organization (ILO), which this year was once again held virtually. Jackie was also selected as a delegate for GlobalRec, the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers. “We aspire to make corporations pay for the work we do for free today, through a policy of Extended Producer Responsibility, which can be translated into better working conditions, wages and social protection,” said Jackie in closing her speech, with a clear emphasis on the Recycling Law that will be presented in the coming weeks. The work done every day by the more than 15 million waste pickers around the world must continue with the process of recognition that, for 20 years now, has been built by the FACCyR and various organizations that, in each country, fight for more rights for the cartoneros and cartoneras.
Waste pickers join forces to fight climate crisis (Argentina) by FACCyR (09/24/2021)
In alliance with the climate crisis movements, waste pickers marched for environmental justice, with an inclusive packaging law. On Friday, September 24 at 5 pm, from the Argentine Federation of Cartoneros, Carreros and Recyclers we will be participating in the world march for the climate and ecological crisis, and to carry forward our demand for a Law of Packaging with Social Inclusion to the Congress of the Nation. This mobilization, which will be replicated all over the world, will serve to once again demand that politicians take concrete and forceful action against climate change and the social and economic crisis in which we are immersed. The work done every day by the more than 15 million waste pickers around the world must continue with the process of recognition that, for 20 years now, has been built by the FACCyR and various organizations in each country fighting for more rights for cartoneros and cartoneras. A Law on Socially Inclusive Packaging will serve, among other things, to create and dignify jobs in the municipalities, reduce the pollution generated by the packaging that companies place on the market or create and strengthen urban solid waste management systems.
Criminal Fires Must Stop (Dominican Republic) (05/13/2021)
The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers condemns the criminal fires taking place in several dumpsites in the Dominican Republic, and stands in solidarity with fellow recyclers in the region. The latest one being the dumpsite Santiago de los Caballeros. It’s being said that they tried to set it on fire for a week and that on May 12th, they finally succeeded. The causes of the fire are yet unknown. However, some waste pickers are already pointing to a private company that tried to monopolize the landfill and probably paid for it.
NASWON joins NATCO conference (Nigeria) by NASWON (12/27/2021)
Members of NASWON gathered in Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria, to participate in this year’s NATCO (Nigerian Artisans and Technician Conference 2021). It was a great day on Tuesday December 7th, 2021 as individuals gathered together to participate in this year NATCO (Nigerian Artisans and Technician Conference 2021) which took place in Oshodi (Lagos Central) area of Lagos State, Nigeria with the view to create awareness, exhibit, advocate their different products and services. The event lasted three days and was sponsored by different major companies in Nigeria. The National Association of Scrap and Waste Workers of Nigeria (NASWON) participated and used this platform to create awareness and register more waste pickers into the association in order to empower them effectively with a medium to create an Eco-friendly environment. Earlier this year, the association organized a training session on Covid-19 and preventive methods using masks for informal workers. The training was organized by Fed Min (Labour and Employment) in conjunction with FIWON and NASWON.
Waste pickers from Bokk Diom work on their integration into waste management (Senegal) by Bokk Diom (12/27/2021)
Waste pickers of Mbeubeuss (Dakar’s public landfill) initiated research into alternative livelihoods motivated by the threats to their work at the landfills. In November 2021, the waste pickers of Mbeubeuss (Dakar’s public landfill) initiated research into alternative livelihoods. This activity is motivated by the threats to their work at the landfill with the new state waste management programme, which excludes them from the scheme that will be put in place. Read full post.
ARO claimed the accolade in the organisational category, while Professor Scholes, who passed on in April this year, won the award in the individual category. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has named Johannesburg-based non-profit organisation African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) and acclaimed South African scientist Professor Bob Scholes (posthumous) as the winners of its annual Living Planet Award for 2021. The ARO, a non-profit organisation representing informal waste pickers, was honoured for its work in support of a truly circular economy and for being the voice of a particularly vulnerable community in the waste and recycling sector.
Ground Score provides waste collection services for the unhoused community (United States of America) by Ground Score Association (12/27/2021)
In 2021, Ground Score launched its GLITTER (Ground Score Leading Inclusively Together Through Environmental Recovery) program, which provides tentside waste collection services for the unhoused community. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a dramatic increase in homelessness as well as illegal dumping of household waste by housed residents. The GLITTER program hires around 80 waste pickers, many of whom are also unhoused, to provide regular waste collection at informal settlements across the city. Last month, the team collected more than 30 tons of waste, which would have otherwise been burned or littered. “Ground Score has given me the opportunity to work again and be a functioning member of society for the first time since I broke my back in 1999. It gives me something to look forward to and get out of bed for in the morning, especially knowing that the services we provide are so appreciated,” says Ground Score member, Mo Heisner. When asked about the impact of Ground Score on their lives, many workers speak to the confidence and community that collective work brings. Read the full article.
Waste pickers demand expansion of the Bottle Bill in NYC (United States of America) by Sure We Can (12/27/2021)
Informal recyclers and their allies gather outside New York City Hall to demand expansion of the state’s Bottle Bill. Josefa Marin, supported by the Canner Advocacy Task Force created by Sure We Can, shared how critical the Bottle Bill has been for her and her family, and how much its expansion will benefit some of the state’s most marginalized people.
Binners’ Project offers a new service: Waste Audits (Canada) by Binners’ Project (12/27/2021)
Throughout the pandemic, Binners’ Project (Vancouver, Canada) has continued offering waste sorting services to building, residences, and events which provide stable and reliable income opportunities to binners, Vancouver’s waste-pickers. In the last year, we have been formalizing a new service offering: Waste Audits. Through this service, binners measure their sorting impact by recording pre-sort and post-sort weights of each waste stream. This service also provides the buildings we service with key information about what their waste is composed of, and how high contamination rates are in certain waste streams.