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Tracking Trash with Waste Pickers in Brazil

Posted August 27th 2012 at 11:39 am by
in Stories from the Field

Tracking Trash with Waste Pickers in Brazil

• DIETMAR OFFENHUBER and DAVID LEE are PhD students in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and con­duct research at the Senseable City Lab at MIT.

Paper Radio No. 2 : The Trash Issue
Researchers and cooperative members fill in details on the map of a manual picker’s walking route. A public workshop at the end of the experiment allowed the whole cooperative and members of the community to respond to and augment the collected geographic data. Photo by David Lee.

As a result of ongoing urbanization, many cities face challenges providing basic infrastructure such as waste and recycling collection for their residents. In many places, these services are provided by a growing informal sector. In Brazil, self-organized cooperatives of catadores, or informal recy­clers, have a long history. Today, they are organized coun­trywide in over 500 cooperatives totaling 60,000 members. These cooperatives form a national movement that helps shape public waste policies. In São Paulo, catadores collect 90% of recoverable materials, and constitute an essential recycling infrastructure for the city.

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Copper Wire Recycling

Thanks Asaf for the find !

Here is a picture of a device used to scavenge copper from electrical cords:


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