[Kiswahili] Strengthening Waste Picker Organising in Africa

Waste pickers from South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Morocco and Zambia have demonstrated the common need for official recognition from national and municipal governments, better working conditions, PPE, improved payment for their recovered materials and collection and processing service, and an end to social stigmatisation.

The experience of organising shows that these needs are achievable through building representative organisations that will ensure that their voices are heard in negotiations with governments and demonstrate their value to society.

This requires waste pickers to work collaboratively and embed the principles of democracy, equality and environmental justice in their organised structures. Furthermore, municipalities and national governments need to recognise the value that waste pickers play in diverting waste from the landfills, encouraging recycling where materials re-enter the economy and addressing poverty by providing an income for individuals that have been excluded from the formal economy.

Basura cero – una propuesta integral para el manejo de residuos queprioriza la prevención, reutilización, compostaje y el reciclaje de residuos – es una estrategia que ha sido implementada ampliamente para minimizar los impactos ambientales y contribuir a una sociedad justa. El presente estudio evalúa su potencial para crear puestos de trabajo.

The data for this study came from a wide range of sources spanning 16 countries. Despite the diversity in geographic and economic conditions, the resutls are clear: zero waste approachescreate orders of magnitude more jobs than disposal-based systems that primarily burn or bury waste. This study also finds evidence for good job quality in zero waste systems.

Imagine expanding the life of electronic devices while incorporating blockchain traceability technology capable of creating 1 job for every 300 items reused. Now imagine ensuring a 95% recycling rate and transforming a cost for municipalities into revenue that stays in the community. This is not imagination, this is eReuse: a perfect example of how symbiosis between the digital agenda and waste management can create value, sustainability and jobs.

This report shows how a stronger recycling economy would create 1.5 million new jobs in manufacturing, collection, and other careers. If done right, recycling jobs can be quality jobs with family-supporting wages.

Recycling is the right thing to do, but we need to make it safe for recycling workers. Recycling is a key approach for waste reduction and climate action that is used by cities across the U.S. with enormous environmental and economic benefits. But a new report finds that the actual work of sorting recycling can be unnecessarily hazardous to workers’ health and safety.

Recycling, reuse, and organics management offer enormous potential for job creation throughout the U.S. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach for all communities on recycling, reuse, and organics management, there is a menu of proven strategies that can be aligned to local circumstances, resources, and values.