Inclusive recycling. What makes waste systems friendly, unfriendly, and empathic towards informal recycling?

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The goal of the workshop is to discuss possible design, policy and technology responses to challenges faced by informal waste pickers across the globe.

What you will get out of this workshop
By bringing together international experts on informal waste systems, we want to discuss inclusive waste systems in the global perspective. Based on international and European case studies, we will discus what makes solid waste systems friendly or unfriendly to (formal and informal) recycling, and what responses are possible. We want to discuss specifically the role of design for the creation of inclusive recycling system.

Workshop theme
During the past decade, the figure of the waste picker has become nothing short of a pop star— emerging from extreme poverty as an empowered micro-entrepreneur, resourceful and well adapted to market-mechanisms, a civic servant, as well as a steward of a sustainable urban environment. Countries such as Brazil have enacted innovative policies promoting inclusive recycling, recognizing waste picker cooperatives, and integrating them into the formal waste system.

Despite the capable and complex operations and services delivered by recycling cooperatives the livelihood of waste pickers ist still facing challenges in times of plummeting spot-market prices for recycled materials and increased competition through the private sector. The question of how to integrate informal recycling and the corresponding self-organized infrastructures into the overall waste system; which models and policies are beneficial is not finally answered. These questions are not only urgent for cities in the global south, but also for European and North-american cities. Informal recycling Europe is virtually invisible and rarely discussed, but it nevertheless exists and plays an important role.

Questions guiding the workshop include the following:

  • How can we make wastepicking more visible, and how can we make waste systems more legible?
  • How would a city look if governments would be really serious about implementing the circular
  • What are the pathways of waste in the city, and which of them do current practices in the design
    disciplines see or not see?
  • Finally what does it mean to be an activist for informal recycling, inside academia, in design
    schools, or in professional practice?

Dr. Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos, Professor at the University of São Paulo
Dr. Anne Scheinberg, Noë Waste Measurement Consultants (NWMC)
Dr. Dietmar Offenhuber, Assistant Professor Northeastern University, Boston
Dr. Aleksandra Mitrovic, Retired, co-founder of the Society for the Development of Roma Communities (DURN), Belgrade

Date and location
Workshop 12
Title: Inclusive recycling. What makes waste systems friendly, unfriendly, and empathic towards informal recycling?
Date: 22/4 10:00 – 17:00
Location: TBA

More information on this workshop
E-mail: workshop [ at ]

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