“There is growing recognition of the need to integrate waste pickers into the ‘mainstream economy’. Yet, the fragmented contemporary regulatory framework is not fit for purpose and needs reform.

In late January 2022, Michelle Banda argued in Maverick Citizen that waste pickers or reclaimers must be integrated into the “mainstream economy”. The article reflected on the substantial cost savings that the reclaimers have brought about for municipalities and the importance of their work for the environment, given that these workers collect up to 90% of all recycled paper and packaging.

In this respect the Colombia Constitutional Court has also noted that:

“The activities carried out by the waste pickers has brought unarguable benefits to society by mitigating, in great part, the environmental effects caused by the careless growth of industrialisation and urban settlement. However, far from being valued, they are made more invisible and excluded from the possibility of participating in the market they know every day.””