Informal sector entwurf 100312


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Informal sector entwurf 100312

  1. 1. The Waste Experts: Enabling Conditions for InformalSector Integration in Solid Waste ManagementLessons learned from Brazil, Egypt and India
  2. 2. This report is based on three studies prepared for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH: • Recycling livelihoods - Integration of the Informal Recycling Sector in Solid Waste Management in India (2008) Authors: SNDT Womens’ University and Chintan Environmental Research & Action Group • The informal sector in waste recycling in Egypt (2008) Authors: CID Consulting, Cairo • Integration of the Informal Recycling Sector in Solid Waste Management in Brazil (2008) Authors: Sonia Maria Dias and Fábio Cidrin Gama Alves The studies are available on:
  3. 3. Content 1. Introduction 4 2. Why integrate the informal sector? 5 3. The history and current status of the activities of informal sector 7 workers in solid waste management: three case studies 3.1 Egypt 7 3.2 India 9 3.3 Brazil 11 4. Success factors influencing the integration of the informal sector in 14 Solid Waste Management 4.1 Internal organisation and capacities of the informal sector 15 4.2 Participation of NGO‘s in the integration process 17 4.3 Social acceptance of informal sector workers 19 4.4 Political will to integrate the informal sector 19 4.4 Collaboration with the formal private sector 25 5. Recommendations for the integration of the informal sector 27 in Solid Waste Management Imprint 31 03
  4. 4. 1. Introduction In low and middle-income countries, the infor- regions, in order to inform future planning and mal sector carries out a significant proportion decision-making processes. The experience of of recycling activity in solid waste management informal sector intervention in waste manage- (SWM). For the purposes of this study, the term ment has been very diverse in different regional ‘informal waste workers’ designates people who contexts. In some Asian and Latin American make a living from waste, but are not formally countries, informal waste workers have managed tasked with providing the service by the respon- to establish organisations and networks that in sible authorities. some cases have become regular partners of mu- nicipal government and private enterprises. The present study analyses the experience of three countries: Brazil, India and Egypt. It aims to determine the factors for successful informal sector integration in solid waste management systems. This success seems to depend on the capacities of the informal sector to organise and to influence public and political opinion, on the political will to integrate the informal sector and on the possibilities for collaboration with the formal private sector and other actors. Several studies have shown that these informal Various political, legal, cultural and social condi- recycling activities have positive effects on the tions determine the best possible approach to in- environment, reduce the costs of waste manage- formal sector integration, and local, regional and ment systems and provide income opportunities national contexts must be taken into account. for large numbers of poor people. As waste Comprehensive information on possible models management becomes modernised, privatisa- of informal sector integration and relevant fac- tion and mechanisation of waste management tors for consideration is provided for decision- services are common strategies, and the focus is makers involved in solid waste management, often on efficient collection and disposal rather whether official authorities, non-governmental than on recovery and recycling of waste. Waste organisations (NGO) or private sector actors. collection systems are often designed in a way that potentially denies the informal sector access to waste as a resource. These positive effects of informal sector recyclers suggest that the informal sector should be expli- citly factored into the design of waste manage- ment systems. It is therefore important to analy- se the experience of informal sector intervention in waste management in different countries and04
  5. 5. 2. Why integrate the informal sector?Advantages of informal sector integration for By contributing significantly to the recovery ofsolid waste management organic waste and non-organic materials that can be used as secondary raw materials or alter-The official waste management system in many native fuel resources, the informal sector alsocities could not be managed without their contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gasesmyriad waste pickers, scrap collectors, traders and thus to the mitigation of climate change.and recyclers. Although not officially recognised,they often form the very basis of waste collection Economic advantages of informal sector services, in many cases at no cost to local autho- integrationrities, central governments or residents. Although informal sector activities very oftenOrganically grown informal sector activities are take place outside official and formal chan-highly adaptable, flexible and able to respond nels, unlicensed and untaxed, they neverthelessquickly to demand-driven forces. Informal waste contribute significantly to the national econo-collectors and recyclers unrelentingly come up my. Scrap collectors are entrepreneurs who addwith adaptive strategies to access waste and cir- value merely by collecting and then transfor-cumvent barriers while at the same time integra- ming waste into tradable commodities. Newting new systems as they emerge. enterprises are formed, trading networks evolve, capital accumulation and investments take placeThe integration of informal stakeholders in- and savings are made in terms of raw materials,creases the efficiency of the waste management transport and energy.system. Integrative and decentralised approachesoffer advantages in economic, environmentaland social terms and are thus seen as being themost sustainable future alternative in manycities.Environmental advantages of informal sector integrationThe informal sector achieves high recovery rates(up to 80%) because the ability to recycle isvital for the livelihoods of the people involved.Consequently a huge variety of recyclablesis segregated and can be further processed inaccordance with new demands and technologi- Furthermore, labour and employment generati-cal advancements in the recycling industries. A on occurs through informal sector integration.drop in recovery rates was witnessed in Egypt Activities supporting informal sector integrationfollowing private sector involvement in solid include facilitating credit, skills developmentwaste collection, indicating the important role and improvements in managerial know-how andof informal sector involvement for efficient marketing to enhance the competitiveness ofrecycling schemes. labour-intensive small-scale activities. 05
  6. 6. Through these kinds of activities, formerly retrieve the scraps of paper and plastic that will unskilled workers are educated, new jobs are earn them a living. created and structural disparities are reduced. The departure point for informal sector inte- All these positive aspects cannot easily be quanti- gration was the endeavour to improve social fied as they take effect at various levels within inclusion and protection. This was initially and complex economic networks. Nevertheless, it exclusively the work of civil rights activists, is clear that the informal recycling economy in attempting to help the poorest of the poor. solid waste management financially supplements the formal system in many ways. The integration of the informal sector aims to utilise the entrepreneurial abilities of waste collectors to create business models that can be accommodated within present economic para- digms. Integrating informal sector workers has the potential to significantly improve their living conditions. In addition, integration of the informal sector can also help to optimise solid waste manage- ment services for formerly underserved poor populations. This can contribute to better public hygiene and health conditions. As will be shown in this study, various integra- tion measures directly affect the basic needs of informal workers and their families and thus Social advantages of informal sector contribute to the establishment of dignified wor- integration king and living conditions and to the loosening Even though the income and living conditions of social stratifications. of informal waste workers differ significantly according to their main activities, the majority of informal waste workers (dump and street waste pickers) constitute the lowest level of society. Working conditions are unimaginable and include permanent exposure to dangerous, toxic and contagious substances. Waste pickers are often bitten by dogs, subjected to harassment from officials, exploited by traders and have no legal protection. They live in inhuman and humiliating circumstances and generally lack of sanitary services, health care and social benefits. Child labour is the rule, not the exception, and life expectancy is low. Their task is carried out in the most dehumanising manner, with workers obliged to sort through putrefying garbage to06
  7. 7. 3. The history and current status of the activities of informal sector workers in solid waste management: three case studies3.1 Egypt bourhoods. Nobody organised the system. It grew and evolved organically along with the cityHistory and as a result of the adaptability and ingenuity of the informal sector. No laws, ordinances orThe development of the informal waste ma- regulations existed to determine the sector or thenagement sector in Egypt goes back to the early service.1940’s, where oasis migrants in Cairo (Waa-his) started organising a collection service for In the mid-eighties the Cairo Cleansing andhousehold paper, which was then sold as fuel for Beautification Authority (CCBA) started organi-public baths and local kitchens. sing the waste management system of the cityLater on, garbage collectors (Arabic: Zabbale- and licences were given to collect residentialen) appeared in the city of Cairo. They lived in waste from designated areas. Formal privateinformal garbage villages on the edge of the city sector companies were given a proper contrac-and provided residents with a daily door-to-door tual basis for their services, while the Zabbaleencollection service. Transporting the collected as informal sector household operators were leftwaste to their settlements, they survived on the to collect the fees directly from their clients,recycling of the organic fraction, which they fed exposing them to the risk of some residents pa-to pigs and goats. As the Waahis had acquired ying the service fee with others choosing not to.the traditional right to collect waste and to use it Mostly illiterate, they had to rely on the Waahisfor their purposes, they continued to collect the or other middlemen as intermediaries to assistmonthly fees from the residents. Various agree- them in obtaining licences and organising theirments were formed between Waahis and Zabba- small businesses.leen regarding access to waste, the right to use itand the fees to be paid. All these activities were Current structure of the informal waste sectorunofficial with no formal authority involvement. There is a sizeable informal recycling sector,Up to today the collection itself is the domain thriving economically and extending across themainly of men and children; the task of manu- entire country. It recovers, trades in, processesally sorting the garbage into separate piles of and re-manufactures plastic, scrap metal, paper,recyclables falls to the women and adolescent cardboard and bones. Specialised towns andgirls who do not accompany their fathers on the centres for the recovery and trade of specificgarbage route. Upper Egyptian cultural norms items developed in the municipal, industrial anddictate that they stay in their neighborhoods in commercial waste streams in all Egyptian townsorder not to jeopardise family honor. and villages.With the appearance of plastic and metal in The waste collectors sort and recycle around 80-household waste, recovery facilities and trading 85% of the resources/waste they collect, makingnetworks for these materials emerged within the a living from recovering, recycling and tradingZabbaleen settlements. As Cairo grew, so did recyclable materials.the numbers of waste collectors in the neigh- 07
  8. 8. They provide door-to-door services for a mini- and its own business culture of credit, trade and mal fee paid by residents and at no cost to the finance. government. After the privatisation of waste collection and A diversified network of collecting and recy- disposal, international and local private enter- cling activities has developed, concentrated in prises became responsible for the collection, re- recycling neighbourhoods and integrated in a cycling and disposal of waste and the Zabbaleen complex value chain and recycling industry. Be- lost access to their main source of income. They sides the waste collectors, roamers buy, trade and continue to intervene selectively, and in certain exchange recyclable waste items. Waste pickers neighbourhoods where national companies have collect the waste by picking through dumps, taken over responsibility for waste collection and landfills and street bins. Middlemen, interme- sub-contract to Zabbaleen. But this collaboration diary buyers and wholesale merchants are also remains very limited and irregular. Private enter- involved in this informal waste system and small prise attempts to engage informal sector workers enterprises operate with recycling machines, as waste collectors in companies have not been processing machines or maintenance equipment. very successful because the majority of workers leave after a short time. For the moment, it seems as if the privatisation of waste collection services has hindered informal sector integration in waste management in Egypt. Organisational developments in the informal waste sector The level of organisation in the informal waste sector is low and is restricted to an organical- ly grown structure of power and exploitation. Some influential Zabbaleen obtain licenses for waste collection and let others work for them under poor conditions. The trade market is controlled by few middlemen, who make the The recycling industries in the Zabbaleen largest profit. settlements have developed extensive upstream and downstream links with other informal and A few NGO‘s have emerged in the informal formal markets throughout the country. In waste sector in recent decades, promoting the addition to collecting mixed household waste, interests of informal workers. The first was the they also purchase source segregated waste from Association of Garbage Collectors for Community commercial and institutional waste generators, Development (AGCCD) which was formed in as well as roamers, middlemen, etc. These are 1983 and launched the first credit program for sold either as end products or as inputs for other small and medium enterprise development to in- manufacturing activities to large-scale industry troduce recycling of non-organics in an informal and informal sector small enterprises. Trading neighborhood. The Association for the Protection and manufacturing networks have grown to of the Environment (APE), another non-profit, cover the whole country from Alexandria to As- organised a girls’ and women’s community recy- wan. The industry has spawned its own dealers, cling enterprise based on source segregated cloth its own centres of production and recycling, and paper. The Spirit of Youth for Environmental08
  9. 9. Services (SoY) was established in 2004. SoY has also worked in the field of waste. Because ofmade source segregation a primary objective of their involvement and because of the filthy workits mission and has mobilised young people to environment, the occupation of waste pickingspread awareness of the practice in schools and has traditionally been held in low esteem by thecommunity development associations. population and by political decision-makers. The fact that no other social category has beenApart from a few NGO‘s, there are as yet no prepared to start waste picking, even in times ofwaste pickers’ organisations or cooperatives poverty and hardship, offered at least some de-representing the interests of the poor and gree of guaranteed job security to waste pickers.voiceless. Internal patterns of organisation arelimited to informal social networks and solidari-ty mechanisms.3.2 IndiaHistoryWaste collection in India goes back to the 17thcentury, where bones, rags and paper wereamong the first commodities to be collected.Solid waste management was traditionally theresponsibility of municipal bodies. Across thecountry, the workforce carrying out solid wastecollection and transport activities consisted pri-marily of socially excluded communities on themargins of society. Current structure of the informal waste sector Nowadays large numbers of people are asso-The caste system in Indian society, which conti- ciated with waste management in India. Re-nues to exist, is a determining factor in the solid searchers estimate that about 1% of the urbanwaste management system. Waste picking, along population in India is active in the informalwith any work related to garbage or the handling recycling sector.of carcasses and human excreta is traditionallybound to the lowest caste – the ‘untouchables’. The informal waste sector is socially stratified inFrom the very beginning, women from these a pyramid with scrap collectors (waste pickerscastes have been the only ones prepared to soil and itinerant waste buyers) at the bottom andtheir hands and they therefore make up the re-processors at the top. Various actors such asmajority of waste pickers. The men, on the other retailers, stockists and wholesalers occupy thehand, are active in itinerant buying, with access strata in between. The majority of retailers areto capital, relatively better work conditions and former waste pickers who have managed totherefore marginally better status. assemble some capital and to take up another activity.There is historical evidence of the immigrationof low caste workers to Delhi during worker Scrap collection is the first stage in the recyclingshortages to handle waste in the city. Many sector and is undertaken by two categories ofBangladeshi migrants and their families have workers: waste pickers and itinerant buyers. 09
  10. 10. Waste pickers retrieve paper, plastic, metal and Their tasks vary from door-to-door garbage coll- glass scrap from garbage bins or receptacles ection to the management of recycling centres provided by municipalities for the disposal of and scrap trading. garbage on the street, and from landfill sites where collected garbage is transported and Organisational developments in the informal dumped. They rudimentarily sort and then sell waste sector the collected scrap commodities to retail scrap Since 1972, efforts have been made by local establishments by weight or unit. Itinerant NGO‘s to organise the waste pickers, but the buyers purchase small quantities of scrap from results do not yet extend across India. households, offices, shops and other small com- Due to the predominant role of women in waste mercial establishments. picking, women’s organisations were the first to cast light on waste pickers and their interests. These early approaches encouraged waste pickers to transfer to work less demeaning to their dignity and less hazardous to their health. The key activities were formation of cooperatives for contract cleaning and housekeeping, collection of waste paper from government offices and institutions and trade in waste paper. In 1990 the Project for the Empowerment of Waste pickers of the Women’s University in Pune in Western India started organising waste pickers around their work issues. Amongst other initi- atives, the project issued identity cards to waste The retail traders form the top stratum of the pickers and promoted source segregation of scrap trade and are most often located in slums waste and its door–to-door collection by waste with significant populations of scrap collectors. pickers. They have a direct relationship with the scrap collectors from whom they purchase scrap. In subsequent years waste picker organisations were formed in Delhi, Bangalore and other Processing and reprocessing industries that cities, based on the understanding that waste source scrap usually exist in both the informal pickers have a customary right to recyclable and the formal economy. Plastics and electronic scrap and asserting that waste pickers’ liveli- waste are typically processed in the informal hoods could best be protected and enhanced by sector while paper, cardboard, metals and glass promoting source segregation of waste and its are handled by the formal sector. door-to-door collection. All of the organisations underscored the value and the work of informal There are currently 24 officially recognised waste sector waste recyclers. picker organisations in India, with various levels of contractual and non-contractual relations to the formal authorities. They are formed as cooperatives or associations and are integrated in local source segregation schemes at different levels.10
  11. 11. The projects had the following principal aims: recycling materials has taken place in two main ways: 1) street waste picking activities by street• to integrate waste pickers into community dwellers using trash bags found on the curb based, decentralised solid waste management; or taken from offices and shops; and 2) waste• to promote the contribution of waste pickers picking at open dumps in major cities. to reductions in municipal waste handling costs, resource recovery, environment conser- Due to the lack of storage space for their materi- vation, recycling and economic productivity; al and/or the lack of money to travel home after• to improve work conditions and livelihoods a working day, street waste pickers were forced rather than transferring waste pickers into to live in improvised cardboard shacks since they other occupations. could not leave their material unguarded. There- fore, public space was simultaneously being usedSubsequent developments in the following years as a workplace and a home, causing many pro-led to the formation of different waste ma- blems for urban cleansing. Being seen as peoplenagement initiatives and included engaging in who ‘dirtied the city’ with their activity, treateddialogue with waste generators to enable them to as ‘part of the rubbish’, those working in theunderstand the relevance of involving waste streets were frequently expelled from the curbspickers in emerging waste management initiati- to beautify the city and their materials were of-ves. ten confiscated. However, waste pickers working at the open dumps were socially ‘invisible’ asAs a result of their increasing involvement, a their activity generally takes place out of sight onNational Alliance of Waste Pickers was founded in the periphery of the cities.2005. The various organisational support effortscollectively led to high levels of integration ofinformal waste pickers into the solid waste ma-nagement system in various cities. In Pune, forexample, waste pickers have been authorised bythe municipal government to provide householdwaste collection, providing them with directaccess to recyclables.3.3 Brazil:HistoryIn Brazil, waste pickers traditionally collectedorganic material in order to feed animals. They Current structure of the informal waste sectorlived in informal settlements all over the coun- There is extensive experience of waste pickerstry, with shacks for homes, surviving by garbage organising and establishing formal relationshipspicking and pig farming. with municipal and national governments. After an initial period of mutual mistrust and conflict,Waste recovery later evolved to include recycla- various functioning models of cooperation andble materials such as plastic waste, scrap metal partnership between waste picker organisationsetc. For decades this informal collection of and formal authorities have evolved. 11
  12. 12. Meanwhile countless cooperatives have been In some cases waste pickers‘ cooperatives even founded nationwide, where waste pickers are make arrangements with big waste producers to formally organised and a strong network of collect the recyclable part of the waste. multiple stakeholders has evolved, strengthening the voice of these informal recycling workers as In spite of the fact that waste pickers have economic actors in solid waste management. organised into formalised cooperatives, there is still much to be done before these cooperatives This has resulted in the formation of municipal represent protected employment for their asso- recycling scheme partnerships between many ciates. Waste picking in Brazil nowadays can the- waste pickers’ organisations and local govern- refore be seen as a kind of semi-formal activity. ments. Relations are regulated with specifically designed contracts, covenants and arrangements, Organisational developments in the informal always according to local circumstances. In waste sector some cities, recycling is formally assigned to Brazil has a long history of social activism in cooperatives of informal recyclers and recycling social life. This, along with the strong influence centres, often subsidised by the municipality of the Catholic Church on charity and care for and sometimes combined with public-private- the poor, might account for the development of partnerships. In other cases, support comes from highly-developed forms of organisation within federal agencies or international donors. the informal waste sector. In the 1970’s, the Source segregation schemes have been initiated Church (and its NGO‘s) implemented its first in some cities, either at household level (door- projects with street dwellers in the streets of the to-door) or with drop-off systems in public are- main Brazilian urban centres. Among the street as. The recyclables are collected by the munici- dwellers, social agents identified a sub-group pality or by private contractors and transported that carried out waste picking activities on a to the waste pickers‘ recycling centres for further frequent basis and saw the potential for organi- sorting, baling and commercialisation. sation. This eventually led to the formation and foun- dation of the first organisations of waste pickers during the 1980’s (Porto Alegre, 1986; São Pau- lo, 1989) resulting from socio-pedagogical work carried out by Catholic Church organisations. In São Paulo the newly founded Coopamare became involved in the first ever partnership between waste pickers and local government, with the municipality providing many incentives that helped the cooperative’s development. In Belo Horizonte the Waste Pickers‘ Association (ASMARE) was founded in 1990. The main Cooperation between waste pickers‘ cooperatives demands of the waste pickers at that time were or associations and municipalities, local govern- for the right to work collecting recyclables in the ments and the private industry takes place at city and for an appropriate place for sorting. various levels, depending on the specific political and legal context.12
  13. 13. Along with the first official source segregationprograms the City Government entered into acomprehensive partnership with ASMARE thatnot only provided the necessary incentive forits growth but also contributed to its local andnational visibility.This experience of partnership between a wastepickers’ organisation and a municipality becamea ‘model’ of the potential within the solid wastemanagement field for the social inclusion ofwaste pickers in local government recycling pro-grams and inspired many municipalities withinthe country. These activities paved the way for the creationIn 1998, under UNICEF leadership, a national of a national movement, which began with theforum called Waste & Citizenship was launched ‘First National Congress of Brazilian Wastewith the aim of eradicating child labour at open Pickers’ held in 2001 and supported by variousdumps, recovering degraded disposal areas and public, non-public, national and internationaldeveloping sanitary landfills, as well as promo- organisations. In the wake of this, the ‘Movimen-ting partnerships between municipalities and to Nacional de Catadores de Recicláveis – MNCR’waste pickers. This forum helped to give more was created, sowing the seeds for interactionvisibility to the social and environmental impor- between waste pickers´ movements across thetance of the work of the waste pickers and also continent and the formation of the first Latin-brought existing cooperatives and associations American Congress of Waste Pickers in 2003.into the spotlight. This visibility had a nati-onwide impact, inspiring other groups of wastepickers to get organised and creating a basis forsocial activism. 13
  14. 14. 4. Success factors influencing the integration of the informal sector in solid waste management When considering the success factors for infor- remain active in waste management as long as mal sector integration in solid waste manage- they earn an income from it, however small. ment systems, it is important to distinguish But in a development approach that attempts to between internal factors enabling informal strengthen informal sector integration in solid workers to be active in solid waste management waste management, the objectives being pursu- over a long period and factors that further the ed are: 1) to improve the working and income sustainable integration of the informal sector in conditions of informal sector actors and 2) to official solid waste management systems. give them the longest-term perspective possible as waste management actors. This requires a mi- The primary characteristic of the informal sector nimum of official recognition and organisation is that even in a context unfavourable to their of waste pickers. It does not mean however that activity, informal waste pickers and recyclers the informal sector has to be fully formalised. Enabling conditions for integrating the waste informal sector Integrating the informal waste sector depends on many factors. The four major enabling conditions relevant for promoting the integration process are: 1. VOICE - The organisation of informal sector workers into membership-based bodies ac- countable to their members and the representation of these organisations in relevant policy- making institutions. Organisation is a precondition to integration. 2. VISIBILITY - Official recognition of the economic contribution of informal sector workers, resulting from improved labour force and other economic statistics and from policy research. The demand for integration has to be substantiated. 3. VALIDITY - Legal identity and formal recognition of informal sector workers and their membership-based organisations. Integration has to be backed by political power. 4. VIABILITY - The commercial viability of the informal waste sector is the single most impor- tant reason informal waste enterprises continue to flourish under existing competitive market conditions. Economic autonomy supports Integration. 14
  15. 15. 4.1 Internal organisation and capacities not evolved into powerful advocacy organisa- of the informal sector tions representing the interests of the informal sector.In many places, informal sector workers in solidwaste management are not part of a regularisedbusiness environment, but work autonomous-ly, pursuing several parallel economic activitiesand are thus not regularly active in solid wastecollection and recycling. In initiatives to fullyintegrate informal waste collectors into wastecollection enterprises, the drop-out rate was highand waste pickers either lost their income oppor-tunities or returned to individual waste pickingactivities in poor working conditions. Because ofthe unsteady nature of informal worker activityin waste management, these workers are some-times perceived as unreliable service providersfor waste collection services. By contrast, in India and especially in Brazil, influential waste pickers’ organisations haveInformal sector workers can position themselves evolved over the last three decades, resulting inas regular service providers by organising them- some crucial advantages:selves in cooperatives and other structures ableto provide a regular collection service, indepen- • A cooperative or association, as an officialiseddent of the workforce of individual informal sec- legal or semi-legal body, can act as recipienttor workers. The use of near relatives as replace- for contracts or covenants with the munici-ments for waste pickers who are irregular in their pality and represents a form of security forwaste collection has been successful in India. any joint project or initiative;This organisational ability and entrepreneurial • Waste picker organisations can be strategiccapacity is important also in recycling activities, actors, participating in committees, workingin order to establish regular business relations groups and forums and thereby representingwith the administration and clients in the waste pickers’ interests;manufacturing and export sectors. Cooperatives • As social activists, cooperatives can be invol-of waste pickers are most durable when they ved in protests, social marches and othertake into account the specific working habits projects to raise public awareness.and conditions of waste pickers but neverthelesscreate a minimally structured environment forreliable business partnership. The entrepreneurial capacities of infor- mal sector workers and organisationsIn Egypt, the private sector has explicitly cited are an important factor in the sustaina-the lack of organisational structure of the infor- bility of informal sector intervention.mal sector as a reason for insufficient collabo-ration, pointing to the lack of interlocutors forthe negotiation of arrangements. The informal Flexibility is an important asset offered by infor-sector organisations created in Egypt have been mal sector workers in solid waste management.unable to fulfil this role because they are domi- Compared to formalised waste managementnated by a small number of individuals and have companies, they are able to adapt rapidly to 15
  16. 16. changing waste management and market condi- stations and at final disposal sites). Having faced tions. In this way, informal sector workers have problems in their household waste collection different supply mechanisms (itinerant waste activity, some informal recyclers’ organisations buyers purchase waste from households; infor- have sought regular agreements with big waste mal waste collectors supply collection services in producers such as supermarkets, where they return for access to recoverable waste fractions; collect recyclable waste. waste pickers are active on the streets, at transfer The SWaCH Cooperative in Pune, India The SWaCH (Solid Waste Collection and Handling) cooperative of waste pickers and other urban poor was established in 2007 to provide doorstep garbage colle- ction services across the city of Pune. It was designed as a professionally managed service delivery organisation within the broad framework of developing models that are inclusive of the poor. SWaCH operates in the area of waste management that includes collection, resource recovery, scrap trading and waste processing. It is therefore an autonomous entity but its operations are being financially supported by Pune Municipality (PMC) for a period of five years, during which it is tasked with exploring revenue sources and becoming an inde- pendent income-generating entity. The PMC is committed to supporting the management, equipment, infrastructure costs and certain welfare costs during the start-up phase. User fees are to be recovered from service users. The user fees and income from the sale of recyclables will constitute the earnings of waste pickers. Structurally, the governance arm of SWaCH comprises 14 waste pickers/collectors, 2 PMC representatives and 1 representative of the KKPKP cooperative. The management arm of SWaCH is headed by a Chief Executive Officer, supported by a team of staff for operations, administration and finance, marketing, customer care and relations, management, informa- tion systems and data management. Provision has also been made for technical consultants in areas including citizens’ education, management information systems, composting and biomethanation. Currently the SWaCH Cooperative is present in 127 out of 144 sub-units in all 14 admi- nistrative wards of the PMC. 1,500 waste pickers have been formally integrated and service 200,000 households.16
  17. 17. In the same way, informal recyclers adapt to tions. This has led in both countries to the deve-marketing options for recovered waste fractions lopment of larger cooperatives and associationsand recycled products. In order to diversify representing waste pickers’ interests and givingmarketing options and thus improve flexibility them a voice. In Brazil these institutions backedvis-à-vis the market, the development of pre- the development process that ultimately resultedprocessing and recycling techniques is an impor- in the creation of the National Waste Pickers’tant element in developing informal recyclers’ Movement. In Egypt the main developments inactivities. strengthening the informal sector and suppor- ting its self-organisation were also fostered by various NGO‘s. The capacity to structure their activity and comply with regular working hours enhances informal actors’ potential to act as a contracting partner for munici- pal governments and formal enterprises.People working in the informal recycling sectoroften have a long history of exploitation andoppression. They have not learned to trust eachother and organise in a common front, withcommon opinions and views for negotiationpurposes and they are wary of being dominated.Consequently, only if there is trust among thepersons involved and clear rules for the creationof cooperatives, for example, can the organisati- NGO‘s can provide technical expertise, financialonal structures be sustainable and equitable. and legal support and advisory services. Due to their humanitarian approach, they work withoutFurthermore, informal sector workers are at risk self-interest for the development of waste pickersof being dependent on powerful collaborators in and can therefore be trustworthy and acceptedorder to earn their income. Efforts to organise partners. They can reduce distrust between thethe informal sector must therefore be particular- formal and the informal sector and betweenly careful with regard to attempts by the more socially excluded waste pickers and the generalpowerful groups among the informal sector public and can thereby serve as arbitrators andto abuse support or regulation efforts for their process facilitators.personal interests. NGO‘s often create crucial links between4.2 Participation of NGO‘s in the the formal and the informal private integration process sector.The first steps in the bottom-up organisation ofwaste pickers have always been taken by NGO‘s. On the other hand, experience from EgyptIn India this has have mainly been women’s shows that mere representation of waste pickersactivist associations, while in Brazil the Catholic by NGO‘s might not be a sustainable solutionChurch (and its NGO‘s) have been the first to for informal sector worker integration. In negot-support the formation of waste picker organisa- iations with multinationals responsible for waste 17
  18. 18. Fostering grass roots developments in the waste system through NGO‘s - An example from Egypt The Association for the Protection of the Envi- ronment (APE) was registered in 1984, and started operating its first project - a com- posting plant - in 1987. The Rag Recycling Centre was launched in 1988 followed by a Paper Recycling Project and other initiatives. The NGO is governed by a nine-member all-volunteer board, which played an active role in project implementation for the first seven years. It has now trained a staff of 65 people from the neighborhood to manage projects. While the urgency of living conditions of the people living in garbage neighborhoods drove APE’s projects towards welfare development approaches, the NGO also simultaneously piloted certain critically important projects, which today represent the seeds of what might be an appropriate, efficient, culturally and locally responsive system for Cairo’s waste system. This would include the informal sector, most notably source segregation of household waste into wet and dry. Although implementation of source segregation did not actually take place as a result of the pilot projects, valuable information was obtained regarding communities’ reactions towards source segregation. For women in garbage neighborhoods, A.P.E. established community-based Paper Recycling Enterprises. They receive paper which has been source segregated in offices, businesses and university campuses in various parts of Cairo. This is clean, unsoiled and ready to be turned into handmade craft paper. Besides this, the Rag and Paper Recycling Centres designed and delivered further income- generating initiatives for adolescent girls and women in the informal sector. It focused on 1) lifelong learning skills to empower future mothers; 2) building capacity among girls and women involved in the manual sorting of municipal household waste in Cairo; 3) creating working conditions for the recovery and recycling of man-made waste with dignity; and 4) empowering adolescents and adults to participate, as literate adults, in community and socie- ty. These projects continue to create jobs and generate income for girls and women. Individual cash contributions and expertise given on a voluntary basis helped establish the centres. Revenues from the recycling enterprise and capacity building for the management of these enterprises has helped them become fully self-sustaining.18
  19. 19. management in the city of Cairo, the Association to a socially upgraded group the integrity andof Garbage Collectors for Community Develop- self-assertiveness of the waste pickers improvesment (AGCCD) acted as mediator and granted due to enhanced social acceptance, along withthe right to distribute labor and concessions to an increased willingness to adapt and becomeroutes to the same influential middlemen who organised.had negotiated independently with the multina-tionals. The NGO became co-opted by powerful In India, as well as in Brazil, the media, as anmen in the neighborhood and no longer repre- important stakeholder in the system, has playedsented the interests of the poor and the voiceless. a significant role in placing waste pickers andAs a result, this incident led to a serious erosion solid waste management issues in the publicof trust between the informal recyclers and their arena and thereby promoting the disseminationorganisation. of information and informal sector integration. Increased public attention changes the attitudes4.3 Social acceptance of informal of politicians, officials (e.g. police officers) and sector workers the general public (through information cam- paigns in schools etc.) towards waste pickers.Coming from the lowest social level, waste Changed attitudes contribute significantly topickers in all cultures traditionally have a bad establishing support schemes and the forma-reputation. To promote the integration process, lisation of informal workers in waste manage-which can only proceed in step with public opi- ment and professional informal sector recyclingnion, the widespread public idea of waste pickers enterprises. This advocacy for the informal sectoras vagabonds and criminals must be changed includes networking with financial institutionsinto a perception of them as environmental and other support agencies to present informalagents and valued partners, acting together sector organisations as respectable businesstowards common goals. partners. As a result the frequent problem of insufficient capital for informal waste workers Creating a more positive public and can be addressed. political attitude towards waste pickers through civil society campaigns promotes informal sector integration. 4.4 Political will to integrate theExperience shows how essential public debate informal sectorcan be for the integration process. Both in India Political will to integrate the informal sector isand in Brazil, the development of informal sec- one of the major factors defining the level oftor integration has been accompanied by various integration being reached. It is both a matter ofmeasures attracting public attention, such as national policy – of respective laws and regula-protest marches, the public dedication of new tions – and a question of underlying attitudesprojects or recycling centres and the celebration towards informal sector activities in general. It isof newly formed partnerships. also determined by the willingness and creativity of local decision makers, using the space withinThis kind of public attention and respect acts in existing regulations to create initiatives with thetwo ways. On the one hand, social recognition informal sector. These can establish precedents,and acceptance of informal sector activities is which can later be codified into law. Experience,stimulated and the integration process is thus fa- especially from India and Brazil, clearly showscilitated. On the other hand, through belonging that the constitution of adequate legal structures 19
  20. 20. and the process of informal sector integration go The Municipal Solid Waste (Collection and hand in hand, each affecting the other. Handling) Rules were issued in 2000 under a federal act. The rules not only acknowledged the The development of legal structures importance of waste segregation and recycling, must occur alongside the development but also made it obligatory. Yet despite the vital role of the informal sector in the segregation and of social, organisational and technical recycling of solid waste, it was not mentioned structures. in the legislation. Various problems occurred as a result. Waste pickers had to compete with in- The legal basis for informal sector integration cinerators for waste of high calorific value. Mu- into solid waste management is crucial to its nicipalities outsourced door-to-door collection implementation. The adaptation of laws, orders, to large corporate players, thereby displacing the regulations and bylaws at federal, state and mu- waste pickers. Ultimately, the Rules failed to link nicipal levels to the requirements of a successful solid waste management policy to existing good integration process paves the way for further practices such as segregation and recycling by developments. In the process, various aspects informal sector actors. have to be taken into account, the diverse stakeholders have to be addressed and existing A few years later, in 2006, a national law menti- framework conditions have to be acknowledged. oned the informal sector for the first time. The National Environment Policy contained clauses National Policy strengthening the capacity of local bodies for segregation recycling and giving legal recogniti- Federal laws, orders and regulations have a on to informal sector systems. strong influence on the integration process as they form the legal basis upon which local solu- In Brazil, due to the long history of waste tions are designed. pickers’ organisations and their political recogni- tion, various federal laws now explicitly men- tion the interests of waste pickers and thereby promote their integration in the official waste management system. A good example is the establishment of a reverse logistic system, making the generator respon- sible for the destination of the product after the consumption, thus ensuring the return of recyclables to the productive chain. This leads to an increase in waste picker activity, as their parti- cipation in the reverse logistics system is manda- tory. To this end, fiscal and financial incentives must be made available for recycling industries In India, for example, the legal framework is and for the development of regional programs generally enabling in making provisions for in partnership with pickers’ organisations, in incorporating the informal sector in solid waste addition to financial support for the structuring management. The Indian experience also shows of these organisations. that the legal implementation of informal sector integration is a learning process.20
  21. 21. Another example of the strong influence federal pickers live and source segregation schemes havelaws can have on local circumstances is the to be implemented. Political will to integrate therenewal of a law that established the national informal sector at municipal level involves bothguidelines for basic sanitation in 2007. It makes a commitment to accord minimal legal pro-bidding unnecessary for the hiring of solid waste tection measures and a willingness to establishpickers, which means that picker associations direct contractual or covenant relations withand cooperatives can be directly hired by muni- informal sector organisations.cipalities to perform selective collection and canthus be paid for the service rendered. In Egypt waste pickers are not yet fully organi- sed in cooperatives (apart from in a few cases),Political influence can be exerted at various so there is no official contractor to deal with atlevels. In countries with a federal structure, state municipal level. Only small registered enterpri-laws can either enforce integration of informal ses or middlemen can officially be contractedsector workers or obstruct it. and thus act within the system. There are muni- cipal laws regulating the treatment of informalIn the state of Maharashtra in India for example, settlements but not the integration of informalthe presence of mass waste pickers’ organisations workers. Consequently formal relationships bet-in Pune, Mumbai and other cities resulted in ween municipalities and the informal recyclingstate orders to municipalities, directing them to industry are very limited.issue identity cards to waste pickers, to allot thework of collecting waste from homes, shops and By contrast, Brazilian municipalities enable themarket places to organisations and cooperatives drafting of contracts and covenants with wasteof waste pickers and to launch such organisa- picker cooperatives on a large scale, e.g. compri-tions where they did not exist. Municipal initia- sing entitlements to receive recyclables collectedtives all over the state were greatly strengthened by the municipality, the rental of recyclingby this. centres and the provision of operational support. Municipal laws decree that the collection andIn Brazil, the federal district of Brasilia recog- sale of recyclable material should preferably benises organised waste pickers as the beneficiaries done by cooperatives or that collected materialof the material generated in the state buildings. should preferably be destined for formally orga-It determines the implementation of selective nised and registered waste picker groups. Otherscollection in all the administrative regions of the mention waste picker organisations, along withdistrict and also dictates the destination of the other institutions, as a priority for the establish-materials to the waste pickers. ment of partnerships and raise the possibility that revenue generated could be channelled toThese examples highlight the potential for these very organisations. In general, this kindadvocating informal sector integration, using of legislation suggests a formalisation of relati-different political approaches and from different onships between public cleansing agencies andangles. waste pickers.The municipality as the body responsible for The establishment of direct contracts betweensolid waste management services informal sector organisations and local govern-In most cases municipalities are responsible for ments in Brazil has also been facilitated by athe management of solid waste management general trend towards re-democratising localservices. It is at local level that waste arises, waste governments and the clear commitment of state 21
  22. 22. The source segregation scheme of Santo André (Brazil) Santo André is one of the municipalities making up the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo and has 650.,000 inhabitants. In 1997, the municipality began to imple- ment an integrated approach to solid waste management, and in 1999 introduced a source segregation scheme for the collection of plastic, paper, metal and glass. The municipality took the lead and formed two waste pickers’ cooperatives, along with a five-year incubation (training and capacity building courses, monitoring and follow up activities by advisors etc). Both cooperatives have around 100 members and are fully inte- grated in the municipal recycling scheme. The scheme is based on a system of wet and dry collection. When it was started (1999), it covered 7% of the households and gradually reached 100% of households by 2000. Initially, it was a 3-2 system, i.e. collection of organic matter 3 times a week and twice for recyclables. Now the system adopted is 3-1-1, three collections of organic, a once-weekly door-to-door collection of recyclables and a once-weekly collection from drop-off containers: there are 593 points in the city chosen to be within a 300 m radius of each other (GPS technology is used to select sites). Collection of recyclables is done by a private contractor taking the material to the two cooperatives for sorting and baling and further commercialisation. The source segregation scheme collects around 350-400 tons per month. The cooperatives each operate their own recycling centres, both in the area where the city’s sanitary landfill is built. Besides their involvement in the recycling scheme, some of the cooperative’s members are responsible for collecting garbage (and recyclables) in the narrow streets of the city’s shanty- town. Refuse collected is taken to big containers from where it is picked up by a truck. The quality of recyclables coming from this scheme is significantly better as the cooperative’s members work directly with the population being served, so that some environmental educa- tion is carried out on the spot as to improve source segregation.22
  23. 23. institutions to act as catalysts for social develop- organised in cooperatives or small enterprises.ment. This approach includes the subsidies paid Integration of the informal sector into informal sector recycling centres in Brazil, recycling schemes has to maintain abased on the concept of ‘positive discriminati- balance between professionalisationon’ towards a traditionally disadvantaged social (formalised organisational structures, ef-group. ficient recycling techniques) and an open system that provides an income to largeMany informal waste workers are immigrants or numbers of unskilled workers.have never received official identity documents,and this personal insecurity is open to abuse by Support activities must bear in mind that apolice or officials. Such harassment can be redu- far greater number of people will continue toced by the provision of identity cards. In Pune, intervene in a non-organised manner and mightIndia, for example, this measure, conducted by even constitute competitors to newly organisedthe municipality, has facilitated the establish- informal sector actors in searching for recyclablement of informal waste pickers as an accepted materials (e.g. in Brazil). Establishing organi-part of the waste management system. In Egypt sed value chains and franchising systems withon the contrary, complicated formalisation actors who are organised to a lesser or greaterprocedures have initially been abused, subjecting degree, might therefore constitute a solutioninformal recyclers to fines and bribes. to the problem that the whole waste recovery chain is difficult to control. The establishment of Legal protection measures for waste regulated prices for recyclable materials paid by pickers (identity cards, land property recycling cooperatives would already constitute a significant improvement in income for actors rights etc.) facilitate the organisation that continue to work individually in waste and professionalisation of waste pickers’ recovery. activities.Lack of land ownership is an important problem A waste management systems designfor waste pickers in all countries. Many fami- that facilitates recycling (separate colle-lies working in waste recovery live on or near ction schemes, possibilities for recoverylandfills and are always at risk of being evicted. and transport of recyclables to informalIn Cairo, various informal recycling settlements sector recycling plants etc.) is impor-have been completely dismantled many times. tant for the successful integration of theArrangements with the authorities on temporary informal sector.or permanent rights to settle in a certain areacan contribute significantly to improving theworking and living conditions of the informal The waste management system foreseen by thesector and regularising their recycling activities. municipality should include measures guarante- eing regular access to waste for recovery. TheseAlthough the professionalisation of informal can either be created by informal sector groupssector recyclers is an important precondition themselves or by official government arrange-for their successful integration in solid waste ments. There is no one exclusive way to do systems, an approach that focuses In Egypt, informal sector workers traditionallyon income generation for poor groups should assured access to waste by providing collectionnot only concentrate on small groups of actors services to the households even if they used only 23
  24. 24. Identity cards for waste pickers in Pune (India) In India the issue of identity cards for waste pickers was a striking landmark in the process of informal sector integration. It was initially pursued by the Municipal Corpora- tion of Pune (PMC), where the first identity cards were endorsed in 1996. The long struggle to reach this point was supported by arguments about the contri- bution of waste pickers to reductions in municipal waste handling costs, resource recovery, environment conservation, re- cycling and economic productivity. The demand for recognition found a voice at public demonstrations, protest marches and sit-in demonstrations at which thousands of women were present. The media rallied around, faithfully reporting every event and transmitting the message to the bureaucrats, politicians and the public at large. The endorsement procedure was simple. Every member of the cooperative filled out a registration form and was issued a photo-identity card confirming his/her identity as a scrap collector. The members paid the cost of the card, which was essentially a membership card and had no legal backing. The terms of their endorsement specified that the card holders were self-employed waste pickers and authorised them to collect scrap in the city, that the holders were not employees of the PMC and that the card was issued merely for identification purposes. The card was not transferable and children below the age of 18 years were prohibited from involvement. Although the PMC endorsed identity cards had no legal basis, cooperative members used them for various official purposes as follows: • They were accepted by the lower courts as surety; • They were accepted by citizens as surety if the itinerant waste buyer did not have enough capital on hand to pay for the scrap; • They were accepted by police as proof of gainful occupation. The endorsement of identity cards had an effect on various levels. Waste pickers began to see themselves as workers, not scavengers, increasing their sense of dignity and their self- assertiveness. Moreover, harassment from the police and municipal workers progressively decreased and waste pickers became much more socially accepted.24
  25. 25. Problems with irregular middlemen and autonomous waste pickers A phenomenon witnessed in many cities in Brazil was the increase in the numbers of auto- nomous waste pickers in later integration phases. After cooperative waste pickers were en- couraged to leave the streets in order to work at the recycling centres, waste picking became an attractive option for the unemployed, driving more people to street waste picking and thereby affecting the cost recovery of the recycling programs. A possible solution to this development would be to impose stricter rules on irregular inter- mediary recycling centres. Circumvention of middlemen is one of the main challenges to the sustainability of informal sector organisations, so that profits can be fully enhanced and utilised in favour of their members. This applies especially to those cities where waste pickers’ organisations also organise networks for collective commercialisation and/or for processing of recyclables for value aggregation.a part of the collected waste. In the context of conflict between the formal waste collectioncoexistence with municipal or private collection enterprises and the informal, informal sector recyclers have developedvarious strategies to ensure such access. Seeking convergent interests/comple- mentary action between formal sectorOne solution might be the introduction of se- enterprises and the informal sector canparate collection schemes whereby the informal strengthen the position of informalsector collects the recyclable fraction. But even sector recyclers.when cooperatives carry out collection services,they cannot be sure that individual informalsector workers will not sort out valuable material If the informal sector also provides collectionbefore the collection teams pass by. Other op- services, they might constitute business rivalstions include arrangements whereby the private for formal enterprises that will collaborate withsector delivers the recyclable fraction to informal municipal government to combat informal wastesector recycling centres (Brazil). Regulations collection. But even if the informal sector doesdecided by the municipality can support these not provide collection services, competition witharrangements with the private sector. Some coo- the formal sector may arise. If the formal sectorperatives also arrange separate contracts with big is paid per ton disposed at the landfill or if itwaste producers such as supermarkets to ensure is itself involved in recycling activities, it willregular provision of recyclables. have an interest in collecting the largest possible quantity of waste and will try to prevent the informal sector from diverting waste from the4.5 Collaboration with the formal waste stream. But there might also be points of private sector common interest, where for example a privatisa-In the context of privatised waste collection tion contract between the municipality and theservices, there are many sources of potential formal sector includes a quota for recycling the 25
  26. 26. Coalitions between waste pickers and multi- nationals to prevent brand name fraud In Egypt, the trading of fraudulently pa- ckaged products has grown around nu- merous brand name containers. A thriving market for them has arisen owing to the revenue generated by selling them to frau- dulent refillers. The trade in recovered brand name containers has become so organised and specialised that it has influenced the manner in which garbage collectors sort waste. Containers with intact labels and lids are sold to important middlemen living in the garbage collectors’ neighbourhood and specialising in selling to the re-fillers/who- lesalers, who in turn use outlets in popular markets to sell the fraudulently refilled items. In 2003 the informal sector recyclers partnered up – through their Spirit of Youth (SoY) NGO - with the shampoo multinationals to beat the fraudulent market by operating as a buy back centre for empty containers before they left the garbage collectors’ neighbourhood. Children who had been deprived of an education were enrolled in the buy back centre, which operated as a multigrade, non-formal school whose curriculum revolved around recycling and granulating the recovered empty containers. Reading, writing and arithmetic as well as computing were woven around the empty containers. Learners were paid for each container they delivered to the ‘school’ run by the Spirit of Youth NGO in their neighbour- hood and the two multinationals involved each paid for containers of their own brand that the children had purchased from garbage collector neighbours in the area. Contracts were drawn up between the NGO and the multinational shampoo companies. collected waste and where the informal sector has the option of disposing of waste at its own Establishment of regular business rela- recycling facilities. Where a formal enterprise tionships with recycling and productive is not paid according to the quantity disposed industry improves income opportunities and is not interested in recycling, the interven- of informal sector workers. tions of the informal sector are also beneficial to formal collection enterprises because they reduce In order to receive regular income from recycla- the quantity of waste to be transported and thus bles and recycled products, informal recyclers reduce transport costs. need not only to make arrangements with the26
  27. 27. formal waste collection sector, but also with perceive the informal sector as a partner that cantheir clients, the buyers of recyclables. This may provide regular input in recyclables. If informalbe the export sector that sells recyclables to sector organisations manage to establish regularcompanies abroad, but also local firms invol- business relationships with these industries, theyved in recycling or productive industries using improve the stability of their income base.recyclables in their production. Often, these in-dustries are interested in recyclables, but do not5. Success factors influencing the integration of the informal sector in Solid Waste ManagementGiven the differences between countries in the Promoting pilot projects and personal in-nature of the informal sector, the socio-ecolo- volvement gical-political environment in which it operates In most countries the integration of the informaland the heterogeneity within the sector itself, sector in solid waste management is a relativelyit is very difficult to formulate a general and new area for all stakeholders. In most cases theretransferable strategy for the pursuit of informal are no existing norms and conventions andsector integration. sometimes not even any experience to draw on.On the other hand many recommendationsmentioned here apply across the board, descri-bing basic relationships and interdependenciesin the waste management sector, irrespective ofthe cultural background.Hence, a proper sector analysis, taking all rele-vant actors and circumstances at local, regionaland national levels into consideration, is a vitalprerequisite for any strategy development. It willrequire concerted, committed and consistenteffort on all possible fronts to successfully imple-ment informal sector integration into solid wastemanagement. The starting point for informal sector integra-This is an attempt to build upon the experience tion has always been the implementation ofof India, Egypt and Brazil. Although this list single pilot projects paving the way for furtherof recommendations might not be exhaustive, developments. Creating initial results, raisingit can at least be used as a starting point in the public attention, describing the field of opportu-journey towards a deeper understanding of this nities – such practical results at local level can becomplex topic and its various implications. a powerful inspiration to others. They can show 27
  28. 28. that change is possible and value can be created Public awareness campaigns can accompany in many ways and can thus act as catalysts for municipal source segregation schemes and the further integration efforts. development of waste picker organisations. History shows that it is always people in key Encouraging municipalities to actively pursue positions that make a difference: charismatic local informal sector integration and strategic leaders provoking developments, Municipalities play a critical role in the inte- overcoming bureaucratic hindrances and inspi- gration process as they are generally the official ring others. Politicians, union activists, NGO providers of waste management services. The chairmen or private sector CEO‘s - proactive creation of linkages between informal sector leadership is possible at all sectoral levels. initiatives, municipal departments and decision makers and the alignment of their activities is Documenting informal sector contribution to therefore highly recommended. solid waste management Studies that quantify the contribution of the Increased involvement from urban planners, informal waste sector to reductions in munici- waste management specialists, government pal waste handling costs, environmental costs, officials, business development providers, poverty alleviation, downstream employment technology innovators, social scientists, and the generation and health costs need to be under- business sector is required to tackle the complex taken to support the demand for integration. and interrelated aspects of urban management. In order to be sustainable, integration models Improved participatory city planning methods must establish statistically that the costs and the are a vital prerequisite for sustainable informal ensuing benefits are worthwhile. sector integration. NGO‘s can be important players in the process of informal sector integration, acting as initia- tors, advocates and intermediates. NGO‘s can be supported in various ways, e.g. partnerships of all kinds, participation in official decision- making processes or formal acknowledgement of specific projects. Specifically, municipalities can promote informal sector integration in various ways. They can: • Recognise waste pickers as important actors in the recycling chain; • Develop a functioning source segregation scheme; Creating public awareness • Recognise and provide incentives for the in- Public relations activity is important in impro- formal waste sector through excise, tax and ving public attitudes towards informal sector other concessions; activities. In collaboration with the media, PR • Constitute boards or forums with equal can highlight success stories and help to improve representation of waste pickers, traders and the reputation of waste picker organisations. government officials;28
  29. 29. • Register all waste pickers and itinerant buyers Waste pickers are self-employed entrepreneurs and find ways to provide contributory social unaccustomed to conforming to rules and re- security; gulations. Therefore the transition from auto-• Create a clear legal and policy framework for nomous to group labour is always a significant informal waste sector integration; challenge, combined with a resistance towards collective organisation. They will need convin-• Favour informal sector organisations in the cing to change some aspects of their behaviour contracting process by simplifying contractu- and practices during the integration process. al terms; Free roamers or autonomous waste pickers will• Provide low-interest loans to organisations quite often have to learn that it is in their own of waste pickers seeking to bid for tenders interests to change their behaviour. To achieve and contracts; integration into newly formed structures, this• Reserve waste collection and small-scale pro- necessary change process will have to be acknow- cessing for small and medium of informal ledged and supported. waste collection enterprises;• Reserve land in development plans for decen- tralised processing of organic wastes; Providing capacity building support for waste • Reserve space for recycling sheds, material picker organisations recovery facilities, storage of recyclables, In order to ‘compete’ in the solid waste ma- intermediate processing; nagement sector waste pickers have to become• Offer credit to assist in constructing safe, reliable service providers. Consulting in the field durable workshops; of capacity building is of great importance in• Provide access to markets (roads); improving the competitiveness of waste pickers’• Guarantee freedom from the arbitrary fines organisations and guiding them through the and penalties often imposed by local city various challenges they will have to face during councils and Environmental Monitoring the formation process. Units;• Provide technical support services in upgra- Capacity building can be useful in the following ding technology and industrial processes. areas: • Development of feasible and sustainable strategies;Supporting the self-organisation of waste • Improvement of managerial skills (businesspickers management, accounting, marketing, negoti-Due to the nature of waste pickers as indepen- ation skills);dent non-organised actors, mostly illiterate, • Maintenance of work ethics and organisati-unskilled and resistant towards any official or on/team work;formal body it is necessary first to form a germcells of few workers and to provide convincing • Training in sorting, processing, recyclingincentives for their participation. The advan- techniques and value added services;tages of organisation have to be clearly com- • Formalisation requirements for waste workermunicated, as well as the willingness of other organisations;stakeholders, especially official authorities, to getinvolved. • Environmental and health aspects of waste management activities; 29