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Informal Economy & WIEGO
Occupational Group(s): Waste Pickers

Laws & Policies Beneficial to Waste Pickers

For two decades, development agencies, non-governmental organizations and academics have examined and recorded the contributions of waste pickers. Specialists and activists are now calling for an end to repressive policies on waste picking. They advocate the adoption of inclusive policies focused on legal recognition of waste pickers and their organizations, guaranteed access to waste for waste pickers, integration of waste pickers through their organizations into solid waste management systems, and the strengthening of membership-based waste picker organizations.

 

Basic Categories of Waste Pickers

Although the kinds of work waste pickers do differs across countries, some basic categories exist. These include:waste picker kkpkp

Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP)

Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP)

KKPKP, waste pickers, IndiaKKPKP is a trade union of wastepickers and itinerant scrap buyers registered in 1993, based in Pune, India. KKPKP uses the twin strategies of peaceful non-violent protest and resistance and development of alternatives, to mobilize around some of the key issues facing wastepickers.

Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS)

IEMSThe 10-city Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS) evaluates the realities that informal workers face. Qualitative and quantitative research methods together have provided an in-depth understanding of how home-based workers, street vendors, and waste pickers are affected by economic trends, urban policies and practices, value chain dynamics, and other economic and social forces.

Waste Integration in South Africa (WISA)

Waste Integration in South Africa (WISA)

Strengthening the Role of Informal Waste Pickers

Waste Integration in South Africa Header 1
Photo credit: Jonathan Torgovnik_Getty Images Reportage

Waste Pickers and Human Rights

Waste Picker in Nicaragua

It is estimated that 20 million people worldwide depend directly on waste picking for their livelihoods. They work in landfills, open-air dumps or collect waste from garbage bags or containers located in public spaces. Waste pickers create considerable environmental, economic and social benefits in the cities where they work.

WIEGO's Work with Cooperatives

Cooperatives are an important form of democratic organization and solidarity for informal workers, who come together to gain access to services and markets and to engage in collective negotiations.

WIEGO works with, supports and conducts research on cooperatives in many regions. Here is a sample of that work.

Nohra Padilla Awarded Goldman Environmental Prize

Nohra Padilla Awarded Goldman Environmental Prize

Nohra Padilla, Waste picker from Colombia, Recipient of 2013 Goldman Envrionmental Award

Waste & Gender: Rethinking Relations for Empowerment

by Deia de Brito, with Sonia Diaswoman waste picker

Little research exists about gender relations and divisions among waste pickers. A collaborative project involving waste pickers in Latin America has shed light on the multiple levels of discrimination that women waste pickers face and their needs.