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The world is facing an unprecedented solid waste management crisis. Of the 2.01 billion metric tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) that is generated annually worldwide, a meagre 13.5% is recycled and 5.5% is composted. According to a report by the World Bank, if current conditions persist, global waste production is expected to increase by 70% by 2050, with the majority of increased waste being produced in low- and middle-income countries in line with economic growth.

Waste collection is a critical step in managing refuse, yet many countries lack the infrastructure to deal with the scale of waste produced.

Waste pickers operate in every country in the world — from the richest to the poorest. However, countries that lack formal waste disposal and recycling systems often rely on waste pickers to recover, sort and dispose of or sell waste effectively. Their efforts are critical in supporting the recycling stream, recovering roughly 20% all waste materials in developing countries that would otherwise end up in landfill. They are an absolutely critical group that is often over-looked. …


Marian Fletcher

A policy thinker, problem-solver and partnership builder. Passionate about building sustainable, equitable and inclusive markets around the world

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