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| be Waste Wise | September 24, 2020

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The Future of Waste Picking

The Future of Waste Picking Poster
December 12, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am UTC Timezone

Click here to register for this panel.

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 will ask two individuals with direct experience of working with waste picker communities how the world can better make use of their lives and talents.


Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos, Professor of Design, College of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo

Born in São Paulo, Loschiavo is a philosopher and full Professor of Design in the College of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo. She received both her MA (1975) and a PhD (1993) in Aesthetics from the University of São Paulo and has taught in several universities and research centers around the world. She is deeply committed to design and social responsibility issues. She is a scholar of the National Council for Scientific, and Technological Development of Brazil, (CNPq), and spent some years researching the ‘catadores’ (waste pickers) and the relationship between the desperately poor of modern Brazilian society and its accumulating wastes. She is the editor of the book, Design, Waste and Dignity, which is available free at <>  

John Devlin, BGBJ

John visited Bantar Gebang landfill, outside of Jakarta, for the first time in 2014. A group of locals, ex pats and backpackers went about building BGBJ, a social enterprise-based community development hub centred around a weekly youth club. The BGBJ provides education, experience, equipment and energy to the waste picking community and encourages local youths, and visitors, to get creative and have fun. BGBJ has been featured on multiple media channels and continues to attract visitors from around the world who come to see ‘The Best Dump Ever’


Robert Crocker, Deputy Director, China Australia Centre for Sustainable Development

Robert Crocker (moderator) is Deputy Director of the China Australia Centre for Sustainable Development, a partnership with Tianjin University, where he is also a guest researcher. His research focuses on the relationship between consumption, waste and design for sustainability. He recently published two collections of essays, the first on the circular economy, Unmaking Waste (EmeraldInsight, 2018) and the second on reuse, Subverting Consumerism (Routledge, 2018). His book, Somebody Else’s Problem: Consumerism, Sustainability and Design (Greenleaf 2016), won gold in the Axiom Best Business Books awards for 2017, and is planned to be reissued in an expanded second edition in 2020.

Click here to register for this panel.

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