[PUBLICATION] SERI and ARO launch new publication examining the recycling economy in Johannesburg (15 June 2023).
Today, SERI and the African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) launch the Community Practice Note, "African Reclaimers Organisation: The Struggle for Recognition and Inclusion in Johannesburg's Recycling Industry".
ARO is an organisation of reclaimers, more commonly known as waste pickers or informal recyclers, who collect recyclables in Johannesburg’s residential, industrial and commercial areas as well as landfill sites. The Community Practice Note follows ARO's initial years and its struggle against the City of Johannesburg’s “Separation@Source” recycling programme which utilises the services of private contractors to the exclusion of reclaimers and threatens the livelihoods of Johannesburg’s reclaimers. African Reclaimers Organisation: The Struggle for Recognition and Inclusion in Johannesburg’s Recycling Industry is the second Community Practice Note in the series, after Abattoir Workers: Unfair Labour Practices and Anti-Union Strategies in Robertson.
The document examines the recycling economy in Johannesburg, summarises key moments in ARO’s struggle against Separation@Source with private companies, discusses ARO’s strategies and tactics and illustrates the experience of working as a reclaimer on landfill sites and in the city. It concludes with some pointers for the future, regarding recognition and waste picker integration into official waste management systems.
The launch comes after World Environment Day, 5 June, an annual event which aims to galvanise positive environmental action. Reclaimers in South Africa make a major contribution to environmental conservation, diverting approximately 16 to 24 tonnes of recyclable materials per reclaimer per annum to recycling companies every month, saving municipalities millions of rands in landfill space a year.
The speakers for the launch were Luyanda Hlatshwayo from the African Reclaimers Organisation, Khuselwa Dyantyi from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, Khumbulani Maphosa from the Matebeleland Institute for Human Rights, and Melanie Samson from the University of Johannesburg.
- Download the full CPN here.