An Inclusive Recovery

The Social, Environmental, & Economic Benefits of Partnering with Informal Recyclers

In many countries, waste pickers have built recycling systems from scratch and against all odds. They hold the key to a zero waste future.

They deserve more. They deserve better.

Waste pickers and workers around the globe were badly hit by the pandemic. While their contribution to the community is vital, they are often neglected by the same community that they serve.


Inclusion of informal recyclers is crucial to the success of a city’s zero waste plan.

Quantifiable savings in waste management and reduced social assistance costs.

Better environmental outcomes by extending the life of disposal sites and reducing greenhouse gases.

Greater economic and social justice for an important percentage of the population performing an essential service.

A powerful foundation upon which governments can dynamically transition towards a zero waste future.

Voices of Resilience

The COVID crisis has made clear how essential waste workers and waste pickers are to maintaining healthy cities. As we recover, GAIA’s network members will play a key role in rebuilding their communities. Read stories of some of the waste pickers and waste workers at the frontlines of this pandemic who are fighting to provide essential services for their communities in spite of local governments that have failed to give them adequate safety equipment and worker protections.

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