Waste Pickers’ Most Common Demands

Brazil Waste Picker Cooperatives


Struggles are shaped by local contexts, but this list represents the most common demands of waste pickers around the world.

  • Authorized access to waste materials
  • Payment for environmental services
  • Health care and social protection schemes
  • Economical and technical support to unions, cooperatives/associations and micro-enterprises to enable them to enter new niches
  • Provision of infrastructure for sorting, baling etc.
  • Implementation of educational campaigns to help change public attitudes towards waste pickers and also to promote the segregation of recyclables
  • Extending legal frameworks that enable the hiring of waste pickers as service providers
  • Provision of identity cards
  • Preferential rights to work on source segregation schemes
  • Clear tendering processes for waste collection so that waste pickers can be bidders
  • Equitable distribution of profits in the recycling chain
  • Credit lines for equipments and other materials
  • Provision of work facilities: sorting warehouses, crèches (day care services), etc.
  • Programs for the eradication of child labour
  • Participatory channels: platforms for joint planning and implementation of solid waste programs
  • Capacity building courses on organizing, technical aspects of recycling, etc.