The City of Johannesburg in conjunction with Pikitup has set out on a drive to register all waste pickers within the City.

The drive, which has already seen 1200 waste pickers registered in Region D, aims to quantify the impact waste pickers have on increasing the yield of recyclable materials diverted from landfill.

The City says that through this registration drive waste pickers can ultimately be considered for training opportunities and benefit from waste minimisation value chain projects.

Assistance from the City

The City’s Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) also has a forum in place where waste pickers are registered.

“We will therefore consolidate these lists to better engage with waste pickers in the future. We will engage of how we can assist with protective clothing, tools of trade, and inoculations through corporate sponsorship,” the City says.

The objectives of the registration process are:

  • To recognize waste pickers who are currently in the system for integration into the City’s solid waste management system as stakeholders;
  • To verify, record and quantify waste picker contribution to waste minimisation by collecting statistics of recyclable materials collected by waste pickers;
  • To have accurate records of the number of waste pickers that can be used for planning programmes, selection of people to access different opportunities such as training etc. This will ensure that the process is fair and transparent and it can be properly monitored to make all opportunities equitable;
  • To allow for new waste pickers to be registered and recognised when they enter the system; and
  • All Waste Pickers (i.e. South Africans and documented Foreign Nationals) will be registered and issued with a Waste Pickers Identity Card.

The waste picker picture

A report commissioned by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) estimates that there are 62 147 waste pickers in the country and about 25 467 of them operate at kerbside as trolley pushers and about 36 680 operate at landfill sites.

According to the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) a staggering 1% of the world’s population sustain their livelihoods through recycling activities.


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