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The management of South Africa’s landfills and waste pickers on them: Impacting lives and livelihoods

Catherina J Schenck, Phillip F Blaauw, Elizabeth C Swart, Jacoba Viljoen and Naome Mudavanhu

Development Southern Africa, 2019, vol. 36, issue 1, 80-98

Abstract: Effective management of waste and the promotion and management of recycling activities are necessary for sustainable and liveable cities. A key but unrecognised element in promoting recycling is the efforts of waste pickers who make a living from recycling mainline recyclables. This article aims to describe the approaches used on 10 landfills in South Africa to manage waste pickers’ access to recyclables and their daily activities on the landfills. A multiple case study design and cross-case analysis were used in this study. The sustainable livelihoods framework (SLF) was used to analyse and explain the data. The results showed that waste management policies and practices directly influence the waste pickers’ access to recyclable waste and their livelihoods. Finally, some inclusionary and exclusionary practices are highlighted that could guide inclusive, participatory and co-productive practices for waste pickers in South Africa towards increased recognition, access, dignity and income.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2018.1483822

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