Solid waste management : the role of informal workers The C40 report by Archipel&Co

Did you know… 45 million waste management jobs could be created by 2030 in a circulare conomy scenario?

C40, a network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities committed to taking action on climate change, asked Archipel&Co to analyze the role of informal waste workers in solid waste management. The report aimed to make recommendations to city councils for designing and delivering inclusive and fair waste management systems, with a zoom on three cities: Accra, Rio de Janeiro and Nairobi.

Informal waste workers collect between 50 and 100% of cities’ waste in the Global South, generating numerous economic, environmental, health and social contributions. Despite this, they often suffer from harsh and precarious working conditions and exposure to health hazards, social stigma, and exploitative situations. Women, migrants, and youths are the most disadvantaged groups in the waste management value chain. 

Based on desk review, focus groups and key informants’ interviews led by Archipel&Co, the report recommends that cities and other stakeholders in the solid waste management value chain should recognize the positive contributions and know-how of informal players while mitigating the potential negative aspects of the current systems. The report identifies four levers at the disposal of cities to influence stakeholders along the waste management value chain: as policy makers and regulators, as urban planners and market trend-setters, as capacity builders and facilitators, and as awareness-raisers.