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Waste Pickers

How can we manage the waste pickers on waste collection day?
It is no secret that most suburban residents can’t stand the sight of other people picking through their trash. Most residents might also be familiar with the sounds of dogs barking in the early morning hours as waste pickers make their way through your trash the night before waste collection. Some people might even wait until the last minute to take out the trash, just to prevent those people from picking through their waste.

This image shows the two different types of waste pickers that you’l find on waste collection day. The first guy (A) is looking for recyclable materials to sell and make money from… the second guy (B) is picking for food and browsing through your personal stuff, opening every bag and envelope that might contain the most personal of items, even sanitary products.

Watse Pickers

A. Recycle Waste Collectors
In South Africa it is estimated that 85,000 people make a living as waste pickers collecting recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal to sell. These “recycle waste collectors” can easily be identified by the huge trollies they drag behind them packed with mostly plastics and other recyclables. The average South African waste picker can earn an income of up to R120 per day.  Informal recycling is a low-tech activity with minimal carbon emissions, and actually plays a critical role towards environmental sustainability. Solution: If you would like to make life a bit easier for these guys, and prevent them from picking your trash, why not place all your plastics, glass and cardboards in separate bags next to your bin. This will also create more space in your bin for other waste.

B. Waste Pickers
These guys invade your privacy and no one enjoys them going through personal waste. Solution: Take out the trash the day of waste collection, and not the night before. This will also prevent suburban pets from going absolutely bonkers in the middle of the night.



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