According to a survey by the National Movement of Recyclable Material Collectors (MNCR), there are about 800 thousand collectors active in the country, being 70% female.
However, with the pandemic, recyclable materials cooperatives have suffered from a decrease in the amount of solid waste for collection, sorting and sale, which has a direct impact on the income of those who make their family’s livelihood from recycling.
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This is the case of the 16 workers of the Cooperative of Women Palha de Arroz, in the Arruda neighborhood, in Recife, as analyzed by Kátia Karina da Silva, who is the cooperative’s treasurer. “So, this fact of the pandemic was very complicated for everyone, and for us too. And so far it is still impacting the issue of waste, because there is very little. Not only here, but in all cooperatives,” says the treasurer.
In Fortaleza, the situation is no different. For the Association of Collectors of the Jangurussu (Ascajan), in the neighborhood that bears the same name, the lack of waste made the 65 employees resort to partner food baskets to survive.
Maria Lucimar Teixeira de Oliveira, president of Ascajan, talks about these impacts: “The impact of the pandemic was bad, because most – most not all – donors closed, very few were open and we fell a lot. But thanks to God, there was a partnership that provided a basic food basket”.
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Lucimar started working as a waste picker at the age of nine, with her parents in a dump, which was deactivated in the late 1990s and gave rise to Ascajan. Today, at 42, she feels a lack of incentives from the government to work. “Public bodies could look more at waste pickers, which is something they don’t. There are many things we do that are nothing for them. And they know that we are the ones cleaning the planet”, ponders the president.
In Recife, the Palha de Arroz cooperative felt less impact, as the association works in partnership with the Recife City Hall and receives materials from the Recife Urban Maintenance and Cleaning Authority (Emlurb), responsible for collecting the city’s waste, in addition to donations from partners and friends of the cooperative.
Source: BoF Pernambuco
Edition: Vanessa Gonzaga