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How waste pickers are helping to win the war on plastic pollution

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in Reuters or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Around 20 million global waste pickers, crucial to waste management especially where regular collection services are lacking, operate under tough conditions with low wages and no contracts
• Despite the challenges, their environmental contributions are vital to worldwide waste management

🔭 The context: While most global waste trade flows from North to South, waste plastic, especially high-value PET bottles, is an exception, being collected in Asia and Africa and sold to European recyclers
• However, manufacturers backing away from commitments to use more recycled plastic is a growing concern for these waste workers

🌎 Why it matters for the planet: Waste pickers contribute significantly to waste management and recycling, especially in developing nations
• Their work helps reduce environmental pollution and contributes to the circular economy

⏭️ What's next: The founder of Plastics for Change (NGO), Andrew Almack, is working to bring more structure and visibility to the informal waste management system
• The enterprise focuses on India, aiming to connect waste collectors with global brands through an ethical sourcing platform, creating a demand for recycled plastic and thus increasing its value

💬 One quote: “Brands need to leverage their purchasing power. This is the only way to historically ensure that supply chains have transformed, [...] (They) need to recognise that the informal waste economy is the backbone of the circular economy.” (Andrew Almack,founder of Plastics for Change)

📈 One stat: India produces more than 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, with around 40% left littering the environment

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