Ongoing research

Recycling networks.

Grassroots resilience tackling climate, environmental and poverty challenges (2017-2019)

 
 
 

Millions of informal waste pickers collect household waste daily in cities around the globe to earn a living. In doing so, they make a significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of cities, recovering resources, improving environmental conditions and health of low-income residents, creating jobs and income among the poor.

This project aims at examining the challenges that innovative grassroots initiatives and networks encounter and the livelihood practices they generate, to improve recycling and household waste management in informal settlements of global South cities.

The project’s methodology is inspired by participatory action research through a combination of: 

a) a multiple case study on waste picker initiatives in Managua (Nicaragua), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and São Paulo (Brazil) and Kisumu (Kenya) based on interviews, observations, workshops and document analysis

b) joint knowledge co-production with regional and global waste picker networks performing as knowledge hubs for the project

c) an in-depth case study of the City of Kisumu, where the learnings from the multi-case studies will be integrated and

d) international joint research and waste picker seminars to co-produce knowledge to conceptualize solution to the challenges.

Theoretically, the project will also contribute to applying and expanding a combination of theories of socio-environmental and institutional entrepreneurship with resilience theories (SRC The Swedish Research Council Grant).

 
 Rag Picker in India. Garbage seldom goes to waste in India. Rag-pickers sort through garbage and recover every last bit of useful material. Photo credit: Grant Eaton with Creative Commons  License 2.0 .

Rag Picker in India. Garbage seldom goes to waste in India. Rag-pickers sort through garbage and recover every last bit of useful material. Photo credit: Grant Eaton with Creative Commons License 2.0.