Waste picking is especially prevalent in the developing world, where waste pickers can play a vital role in collecting and separating urban wastes for recycling or reuse that would otherwise end in landfill or escape into the environment. A waste picker, for example, can recognise over 30 different potentially recyclable materials, an expertise that is often not appreciated or valued, even in developing cities where only 50% of waste is collected. While the introduction of professionalised waste and resource management can push waste pickers out of work, there is an increasing appreciation of their potential social and economic value.

In this conversation we speak to Cecilia Santos who has direct experience of working with waste picker communities how the world can better make use of their lives and talents.

  • Robert Crocker

    Deputy Director, China Australia Centre for Sustainable Urban Development

    Robert’s research is focused on consumption, waste, and design for the circular economy. He has co...
  • Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos

    A Philosopher and full Professor of Design in the College of Architecture

    Born in São Paulo, Loschiavo is a philosopher and full Professor of Design in the College of Archit...


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