Waste Campaign

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groundWork supports waste pickers to create a collective identity and define and act on their own agendas. It will continue to support the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) which is emphasising gender equality. At local level, groundWork works with SAWPA to set up waste picker cooperatives, negotiate with municipalities and raise project funding. Criteria for a cooperative that works well are that it is democratic, provides a decent livelihood for members, and is effectively engaging the local authority.

Waste pickers are part of a broader movement of people working for zero waste nationally, regionally and internationally. The waste campaign brings them together with communities affected by dumps and incinerators, including cement kilns burning toxic ‘alternative fuels’. They will engage with local authorities on their Integrated Waste Management Plans and groundWork will bring together relevant civil society fora to engage with Industry Waste Management Plans and ongoing reviews of the National Waste Management Strategy and waste policy, including national guidelines for waste picker integration.

The global #BreakFreeFromPlastic movement was launched in 2016 and groundWork coordinates the African campaign. It is also host to the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in Africa. The campaign resists false solutions that externalise costs onto people, the public system and the environment, propagated in corporate narratives. It looks for real solutions that start with a radical reduction in the production of waste and, in the first instance, the elimination of single use plastics.

The campaign engages with waste pickers and communities affected at different points along the production chain.

Zero Waste

Climate and Waste

Waste Pickers