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Informal Economy & WIEGO
Occupational Group(s): Waste Pickers

Waste Pickers & Solid Waste Management

In some countries, waste pickers provide the only form of solid waste collection.

Waste Pickers at the United Nations Climate Change Conferences

Waste pickers contribute to the conservation of natural resources and energy while reducing air and water pollution. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the reuse of materials. Around the globe, waste pickers are organizing and fighting for recognition of their significant environmental contributions.

Basic Categories of Waste Pickers

Although the kinds of work waste pickers do differs across countries, some basic categories exist. These include:waste picker kkpkp

WIEGO Briefs

WIEGO Briefs are part of our  Publication Series.

Waste Pickers' Ongoing Fight for Recognition

Observing Waste Pickers' Day around the world

Recent Achievements

The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers marked Global Waste Pickers' Day (March 1) with a retrospective on 364 days of struggle and achievement. Learn more.

Nohra Padilla Awarded Goldman Environmental Prize

Nohra Padilla, Waste picker from Colombia, Recipient of 2013 Goldman Envrionmental Award

Unfazed by powerful political opponents and a pervasive culture of violence, Nohra Padilla organized Colombia’s marginalized waste pickers into unions and made informal recyclers a legitimate part of Bogota's urban waste management.

Waste Picker Video Series: Chronicle of a Fight for Inclusion

About the Series

This series of audiovisual materials provides information about the process of inclusion of waste pickers into the waste management system in Bogota at the local level, and in Colombia at the national level. It includes short videos—with information on waste pickers' situation and their claims, as well as education materials—that WIEGO has produced to disseminate how this process of inclusion has taken place in order to reach out to every municipality in Colombia and to all waste pickers in the world interested in knowing more about this experience.