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Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union (Formerly named as “Association of Waste Pickers of Bangladesh”)

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Primary information

Year formed
Bangla, English
Number of groups
Number of members
Type of members
Members are waste pickers
Occupation of members
Waste collectors, Waste pickers
Type of Organization
Alliance, Association, Self-help group
Organizational Reach
Local, National
Workplace of members
Door to door, Dumpsite, Other, Recycling center, Sanitary landfill, Sorting center, Street
Organization Structure
“Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union” is the association of waste pickers, household waste collectors of Dhaka City, especially from Matuail Sanitary Land Fill area. Currently “Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union” has 519 members from dumpsite waste pickers, street waste pickers, household waste collectors. An Executive Committee of 21-members was formed including the President, 2 Vice-Presidents, General Secretary, Treasurer and 16 members was elected for two years. The President is the head of the organization and the General Secretary is the chief executive of the organization. In addition, the Executive Committee has appointed a staff member i.e. Coordinator for secretarial support and communication since almost all of the waste pickers are almost illiterate. Currently, Ms Rina Begum is the President and Ms Morium Begum is the General Secretary of Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union. Ms Sayma Sayed is the Coordinator for Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union.
The major objectives of Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union (BWPU) are as follows: • To struggle for establishing legal accreditation as informal waste pickers to be acknowledged as the worker • To struggle for achieving institutional recognition by the City Corporation, Municipalities and Government as environmental workers • To advocate for the inclusion of “Waste Picking and Recycling Job” as a category of work in the National Labour Force Survey and Database. • To struggle for establishing rights of the waste pickers by the City Corporations, Municipalities and Government for promoting their occupational health and safety • To struggle for establishing their “Right to Work” City Corporations, Municipalities and Government as waste management and environmental workers and establish their own demand for formal engagement in waste management related jobs through job employment, out-contracting waste management jobs to their cooperatives in Municipal Waste Management System (MWMS) that acknowledge their contributions in promoting urban environment and national economy and pave the way for sustainable livelihood for waste pickers; • To struggle to ensure the government’s support to arrange education opportunities and health services for the children of the waste pickers • To establish rights of waste pickers to be integrated formally in Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) system and national development plans to achieve the SDGs. • To establish rights of the informal waste pickers to be employed in formal jobs in the Municipal Waste Management Systems of City Corporations and Municipalities • To demand the introduction of unconditional cash transfer support and/or appropriate social safety net program for the waste pickers in consideration of their significant contribution to the national economy. • To establish demand so that government’s environment department, health department, local government department, City Corporations and Municipalities make arrangement for the informal waste pickers including household wastes collection van workers to deliver occupational safety equipment and impart occupational safety training to waste pickers for protecting waste pickers from the hazardous and risky environment in waste handling. • To raise demand to the government so that government arrange skill training on recycling and transfer appropriate technologies to waste pickers and waste traders for promoting safe and sustainable options and extend grants and loans to micro-entrepreneurs, cooperatives of waste pickers for promoting green business i.e. recycling activities to promote decent jobs and sustainable cities. • To motivate all informal sector waste pickers form and join Self Help Groups for savings, inter-loaning, micro-project for social development, cooperative development, collective business. • To motivate all informal sector waste pickers to form and join the trade union of waste pickers (Bangladesh Waste Pickers’ Union-BWPU) • To motive the members to send their children to schools and vocational training centre to increase their knowledge and skills • To mobilize campaigns against violence against women and children, worst forms of child labour, child marriage, sexual harassment, drugs and tobacco use etc. • To organizes periodic meetings and congress of the union to raise their voice for their rights of education, health, accreditation of their occupation and others.
Education and training
Cooperativism & solidarity economy, Hygiene education, Leadership training, Rights & duties, Risks & health
Partnering organizations
Grambangla Unnayan Committee
Ngo funds, Self funded
Internal elections
Every 2 years
Women composition
94,0% Majority of women

Social networking sites


Member benefits
Child assistance programmes, Savings or credit scheme, Training & advocacy
Number of credit / saving members?
Safety & Technology
First aid kits, Gloves, Masks, Safety boots


What kind of relationship exists with the municipality?
How is the relationship with the municipality?
Excellent and/or friendly
Types of materials
Animal waste, Biodegradable, Biodegradable waste, Bones, Bottles, Cans, Charcoal, Clothing, Electronic waste, Glass, Household items, Metals, Paper and cardboard, Plastic, Plastics, Shoe soles
Are they selling to middlemen?
Collecting waste, Collection of recyclables, Selling materials, Sorting waste, Training and capacity building, Waste collection, Waste sorting
Challenges to access waste
Contamination from waste, Exploitation, Foul smell & contamination from waste, Harassment from authorities, Lack of education & training, Lack of infrastructure & resources, Lack of recognition, Lack of tools, Price fluctuations of waste

Complementary Information

Information source
A K M Maksud, Executive Director, Grambangla Unnayan Committee, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Comments / Narrative

Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union (Formerly named as “Association of Waste Pickers of Bangladesh”) started its formal journey on 28th August 2015. From 2008 a group of women waste pickers got organized to cooperate initiatives of Grambangla Unnayan Committee to establish a daycare-cum-pre-school by the side of the waste dump site to ensure a safe place for their minor children. The goal of the association was to improve the life and livelihood conditions of the waste pickers especially woman and child waste pickers of Dhaka City. Informal sector waste pickers who are self-employed as waste pickers and collect recyclable waste materials from the municipal waste dump sites, secondary transfer centres, dustbins, streets and the kitchen waste collectors from the households are the members of Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union.

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