Federico Parra

Regional Coordinator, Waste Pickers Latin America

“After more than 20 years of struggles and of taking actions demanding their rights, recyclers have gained recognition in Colombia as subjects of special protection from the state. But even more is required. Municipal authorities must develop waste management systems aimed at recycling and face the obligation to recognize and reward recyclers as service providers. Bogota, for instance produces 8,000 tonnes of waste per day, and waste pickers recover 1,200 tonnes in recyclables. In turn, as part of the tariff of public waste management for collection and transport of recyclable materials, more than 8000 waste pickers receive a payment for their work. This recognition should be understood as a universal principle: 'wherever there are waste pickers, their work is part of public service waste management. If they are recognized and remunerated, they can overcome the conditions of poverty and vulnerability.'"


urban anthropology, public policy analysis, waste pickers

Federico has worked with waste pickers for 16 years. An urban anthropologist/ethnographer, he is a PhD candidate in Political Studies and International Relations at the National University of Colombia. Federico has undertaken several studies of urban recyclers as well as critical analyses of public policy related to waste management and social inclusion.
Federico’s work has contributed to the understanding of the socioeconomic context of recyclers and the impact of public waste management policy on recyclers in the city of Bogotá. Previously, as a public official in the Special Administrative Unit of Public Services (UAESP) attached to the Mayor of Bogotá, he coordinated the development of the Inclusion Plan of Recyclers.

In the News

2014. Trashing democracy in Bogotá: the real issue behind the mayoral crisis. In the Global Urbanist. W. O. Abizaid and M. Samson.

2014. Video: Recognition of the ‘recicladores’ as public managers of waste in Colombia. Municipal Services Project. 

2012. Video: The Perspective of the Working Poor in the Informal Economy. European Development Day.