Refusing to be Cast Aside: Waste Pickers Organising Around the World

December 31, 2009


In cities across the world, millions of people sustain themselves and their families by reclaiming reusable and recyclable materials from what others have cast aside as waste. They are frequently ignored within public policy processes and harassed and persecuted by authorities. However, waste pickers from around the world are beginning to organise.They are demanding recognition for the contributions that they make to the environment and the economy, and they are fighting to ensure that their role within municipal waste management systems is valued and made more secure. This book profiles waste pickers, the organisations and networks that they have formed and the struggles that they are waging in a number of countries. It looks at how the law has been used to advance waste pickers’ rights and how municipal waste management systems in some cities have been transformed to formally integrate waste pickers. It also explores how waste pickers in different places have been affected by, and responded to, privatisation.

You can download the whole report, or individual chapters from the Inclusive Cities website.