International Alliance of Waste Pickers

Resolutions and Amendments for 2024 IAWP Congress

Here, you can read resolutions submitted by the International Alliance of Waste Picker’s affiliates. This is especially meant for the resolutions committee to consider and the delegates to discuss prior to, and vote for, during Congress. The International Alliance of Waste Picker’s affiliates organizations have proposed 3 amendments to the Constitution.

Table Of Contents
  1. ASIA – Resolutions, all endorsed by the region
  2. LATIN AMERICA – Resolutions, all endorsed by the region, except resolutions 18 and 23
  3. NORTH AMERICA- Resolutions endorsed by region
  4. AFRICA – Resolutions (not endorsed by region)
  5. Constitution amendments

ASIA – Resolutions, all endorsed by the region

1. Conduct advocacy on international and national levels so that the government revise the trade union laws and policies that ensure informal waste pickers can register their organization. Presented by the Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union (Bangladesh) 

Whereas, building up trade unions and associations is a fundamental right of workers. Through associations and trade unions, waste pickers claim their rights and protest against all kinds of discrimination. There are many trade unions in the world and workers around the world claim their rights, and they can put their demands unitedly. Formal workers who are recruited by companies and governments enjoy the privileges of forming trade unions. 

Whereas, waste pickers are an informal group of workers, and most of them are segregated people. It is very difficult for them to have a registration as a trade union or association, though they are historically associated. In many countries, trade union policy and laws are the main barriers to forming associations and trade unions for informal workers.

ILO Recommendation 204 is a unique instrument developed by the ILO to guide countries in understanding and implementing the transition from the informal to the formal economy. The purpose is to improve workers’ welfare and reduce decent work deficits, reduce unfair competition between enterprises, and protect and expand public revenues to build national social protection systems through the transition from the informal to the formal economy.

Unfortunately, it is found that most of the countries have not revised their trade union laws and policies that ensure waste pickers access to trade unions and associations, and in these cases, waste pickers find it very difficult to have registration as a formal trade union.

 Therefore, it is resolved: 

  • Advocate at the international level to ensure that all United Nations member states revise their national trade union policies in line with ILO recommendations.
  • Supporting waste pickers who are historically organized but have not been registered yet. 
  • Provide technical support and capacity building training so that they can build their capacity to advocate at national level.

2. Setting Up a Permanent Sub-Committee for Affiliation Applications.  Presented by Thyajya Shramika Sangha (TSS, India)

Whereas, the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP) has facilitated the affiliation of over 50 national and local waste picker organizations from more than 32 countries through a meticulous application process, involving the participation of dedicated staff members who have helped streamline and recommend applications; and

In order to maintain the democratic principles of the IAWP, it is proposed that the membership application process be overseen by the waste picker leaders themselves.

Therefore, it is resolved:

We urge the 1st Congress of IAWP and the Elected Executive Council to establish a permanent subcommittee to receive and consider applications for affiliation. Representation on this sub-committee should be based on geographical regions, with each region nominating one representative.

The terms of reference for this subcommittee shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Receiving, reviewing, and recommending affiliation applications to the Executive Council for approval or rejection.
  • Holding meetings every three months to assess received applications.
  • Recommending the establishment of a webpage by staff for the submission of affiliation applications.
  • As a part of the review process and when a sufficient budget is available, the subcommittee members can be requested to visit the organization applying for affiliation. 

This resolution aims to ensure transparency and democratic participation within the IAWP by strengthening the affiliation process of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers.

3. Creation of Associate Membership. Presented by Thyajya Shramika Sangha (TSS, India)

Whereas, acknowledging the pivotal role played by the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers (AIW) and many of its members, which may be registered as charities, trusts, or NGOs, in the establishment and development of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP). Their contributions have been significant in drafting the constitution, formulating the Executive Council, shaping policy recommendations, and defining organizational positions within the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers, subsequently renamed the International Alliance of Waste Pickers. Notably, 11 out of 12 Indian affiliates of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers are from the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers.

Recognizing that while the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers fulfills the criteria of a membership-based network with democratically elected leadership by member organizations, its nature as an organization of organizations, lacking a formal constitution or bylaws, and operating primarily through protocols established by member organizations and a central secretariat, renders it ineligible for direct affiliation with the IAWP.

Furthermore, acknowledging the presence of numerous waste picker organizations that have been unable to register as member-based organizations, with constitutions or bylaws that do not reflect membership-based structures, due to the political and social circumstances in their respective countries and regions, yet they play a critical role in organizing waste pickers. It is imperative that both networks similar to AIW and charities or NGOs that organize waste pickers are included in the scope of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers to ensure the unity of the waste pickers’ movement.

Similarly, recognizing the existence of analogous networks, such as REDLACRE in Latin America, which operate regionally akin to AIW, yet encounter similar ineligibility for direct affiliation due to constitutional constraints.


Therefore, we propose to the Congress of the IAWP the establishment of an associate membership status within the existing organizational framework.

The Associate membership shall confer non-voting observer status, enabling participation in Congress and providing the opportunity to offer non-binding recommendations on the policies and procedures of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers.

The Executive Council will develop criteria for associate membership at an appropriate time. The Council will have the discretion to invite eligible entities to join as Associate members, including through invitation.

The provision for Associate membership may be included in the constitution either as an amendment to Section 4 on membership, as an annexure, or as a congressional resolution, with the following stipulations:

“Associate membership is extended to networks of waste picker organizations or other relevant organizations operating at local, national and regional levels, by invitation.

  1. Associate members hold non-voting status and may participate in Congress and relevant committees, providing non-binding input and recommendations to the International Alliance of Waste Pickers.
  2. Criteria for extending associate membership will be determined by the Executive Council.
  3. Criteria may include stipulations such as the organization or network having been active for more than five years in supporting waste pickers for livelihood and social protection. Additionally, waste pickers should be explicitly mentioned in the organization’s protocols and other relevant documents, such as trust deeds or bylaws.
  4. Associate membership is extended solely by invitation based on the decision of the Executive Council.”

This resolution aims to integrate both existing and future networks of waste picker organizations within the scope of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers, fostering collaboration and solidarity across regional boundaries.

4. International Campaign for Just Transition of Waste Pickers to Promote Integration in Waste Management and Strong Social Safety Net. Joint Resolution on recommendations of SEWA (India) and SASAJA (Nepal)

Whereas, recognizing the indispensable role of waste pickers in global waste management, resource recovery, and recycling efforts, they are responsible for the collection of approximately 60% of all plastic destined for recycling worldwide, as well as the reclamation of various other materials such as scrap metals, paper, and cardboard for reuse and recycling;

Whereas our relentless dedication to transforming waste into valuable resources through the collection, sorting, aggregation, and sale of waste has significantly contributed to environmental preservation, including the cleanliness of marine ecosystems, the reduction of plastic pollution, and the mitigation of carbon emissions;

Whereas, we, waste pickers hail from economically disadvantaged and marginalized backgrounds, including oppressed castes, working classes, homeless, religious and ethnic minorities, and indigenous communities. We endure hazardous working conditions that expose us to significant health risks such as air, water, and soil pollution, as well as extreme heat and humidity. These risks are compounded by the escalating impacts of climate change, including rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall leading to frequent floods, which further imperil our health and livelihoods.

Whereas, in addition to climate-related challenges, waste pickers face mounting threats to our livelihoods, including the growing privatization of waste management, waste-to-energy initiatives, and exclusion from policies such as Extended Producer Responsibility norms;

Whereas, we commend the ongoing discussions regarding the just transition of waste pickers within the Plastics Treaty process and the enactment of laws and policies in various countries, including Brazil, India, Argentina, Colombia, and South Africa, aimed at the involvement and integration of waste pickers in waste management endeavors;

Therefore, it is resolved:

We, the representatives of waste pickers in Asia Pacific, call upon the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP) Congress and Executive Council to spearhead a comprehensive global campaign for the just transition of waste pickers. This campaign shall encompass the following key objectives:

  • Endorsement and support of national-level campaigns by our affiliates to advocate for legal recognition of waste pickers’ labor. This includes the formulation of national laws or policies aimed at universal enumeration of waste pickers.
  • Inclusion and integration of waste pickers collectively through cooperatives and associations, into solid waste management systems. This can include activities such as door-to-door waste collection, sorting, and recycling, with provision for dedicated sorting spaces, including under structures such as flyovers, operations and management of waste management facilities such as composting, biomethanization, and material recovery facilities, opportunities for upward mobility in reuse and recycling value chains, and involvement in providing Extended Producers Responsibility services. 
  • Establishment of a robust social safety net for waste pickers, including provisions for adequate, dignified and safe housing with ownership rights, tailored to the needs and comfort of waste pickers; pension schemes for elderly and disabled waste pickers; comprehensive health and medical insurance coverage; access to quality healthcare services; and the provision of high-quality education, including the setting up of schools, scholarships for the children of waste pickers, and childcare services.
  • Provisioning of relevant occupational safety gear by municipal authorities and other public authorities, including designing the new safety gear based on the needs of waste pickers. 
  • All policies and laws concerning Just Transition should have waste pickers’ participation. 

To take this forward, a subcommittee should be set up that outlines the objectives and potential outcomes for such a global campaign. We request that the Congress and future subcommittees allocate budget and fundraise for this campaign 

Through these concerted efforts, we endeavor to secure the rights, dignity, and well-being of waste pickers worldwide, fostering a just transition towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

LATIN AMERICA – Resolutions, all endorsed by the region, except resolutions 18 and 23

5. Resolution on the Just Transition for the Right to Decent and Recognized Work. Joint resolution by RENAREC (Ecuador), UCRUS (Uruguay), ANARCH (Chile), ANR (Colombia), MNRD (Dominican Republic).

Whereas, we, waste pickers, are and have historically been service providers who contribute to the decontamination of the environment through our work of waste collection, preventing waste from going to and collapsing final disposal sites such as dumps and landfills, extending their useful life, which implies savings to municipalities and governments for each kilo or ton avoided (RENAREC – Ecuador).   

Recognizing that waste pickers contribute to the economy of our countries from the popular and solidarity economy sector through our historical work,  we obtain sustenance for our families and cover basic needs such as food, housing and medical care as a result of our daily efforts (UCRUS – Uruguay).  

Whereas, the International Labor Organization (ILO) declares that everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to fair and satisfactory conditions of work, and to protection against unemployment. Everyone has the right, without any discrimination, to equal pay for equal work.

Whereas, waste pickers are key actors in the waste management chain and recycling schemes, and in many cases, we dispute our work with our own municipalities and other actors within the chain.

Whereas, like any service, it should be recognized and economically valued because of the physical resources invested as well as the work and cognitive tools. Just as a doctor saves lives, we, waste pickers, save the planet.

Whereas, the vast majority of waste pickers and their organizations work in recovery schemes within dumpsites, and in many countries, the free exercise of waste pickers in public spaces is prohibited or limited.

Whereas, due to the changing contexts worldwide involving wars, armed conflicts, and geopolitical order, among other unforeseeable challenges, we, as citizens and waste pickers, are not exempt from being affected by these realities (ANARCH – Chile).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Guarantee that the leaders representing the International Alliance ensure the improvement of the living and working conditions of waste pickers (ANR – Colombia).
  2. Encourage policies and resolutions to set out actions in the short and medium term, and ensure that their implementation is achievable (MNRD – Dominican Republic).
  3. Advocate for and participate in the construction of municipal and governmental policies to ensure the transition from work schemes in landfills to decent work schemes for the provision and recognition of the collection and recycling service, including waste pickers.
  4. Encourage the construction and implementation of laws and regulations with the municipalities and/or government institutions in charge of waste management by providing advice to the organizations, and the exchange of knowledge.
  5. Declare our work as a legitimate right so that our permanence and recognition of our value are guaranteed, promoting advocacy actions and the construction of public policies.
  6. Promote alliances with other unions and workers’ associations to advocate for the recognition of labor, encouraging the union of sectors that have historically been excluded.
  7. Acknowledge the work of waste pickers as a service that deserves to be economically recognized by municipalities and recycling systems (RENAREC – Ecuador).
  8. Recognition of waste pickers as workers who contribute to the wealth generated by waste recovery (UCRUS – Uruguay).
  9. Adopt and promote the highest standards of improvement in decent working conditions for all, in accordance with local and international regulations based on ILO resolutions (UCRUS – Uruguay).
  10. Promote, to the extent that the accumulation of international forces achieved by the alliance, labor stability for cooperatives, sorting sites and all forms of work carried out by waste pickers (UCRUS – Uruguay).
  11. Promote the right to work without exclusion for cart waste pickers (UCRUS – Uruguay).

6. Resolution on Strengthening the Recycling Movement and Associativity. Joint resolution by ANR (Colombia), ANARCH (Chile), UNICATADORES (Brazil), RENAREC (Ecuador), MNRP (Panama), MNPRBCR (Costa Rica)

Whereas, the International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a worldwide representative organization of recyclers and is made up of organizations of waste pickers that have been freely constituted by their waste picker members, and in accordance with the free right of association of persons.  

Whereas, with the adoption of the Universal Declaration and ILO Convention No. 87, workers’ rights should be considered human rights as well as the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association and organization (ANR – Colombia).

Supporting the visibility of our work as waste pickers and being key players in the national, regional and global agendas on the environmental, social, economic and political landscape.

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Ensure that the representatives of the International Alliance are and come from waste pickers’ organizations that understand the reality in which waste pickers live (ARB – Colombia).
  2. Promote the development of public policies to strengthen and protect associative schemes without discriminating against the informal sector or the removal of waste pickers (ARB – Colombia; ANARCH – Chile).
  3. Establish governance models with the participation of the regions and the decision-making in the International Alliance assembly (UNICATADORES – Brazil).
  4. Promote opportunities for the training of new leaders and for the construction of public policies so that organizations can actively participate in decision-making (RENAREC – Ecuador).
  5. Provide training processes for organizational strengthening to build solid organizations and teamwork (MNRP – Panama; MNPRBCR – Costa Rica).
  6. Promote spaces for political training and advocacy actions to build and strengthen the leadership capacities of the waste pickers’ movement.
  7. Ensure that affiliates comply with evidenced democratic processes for their proper autonomous governance as an organization with their waste picker members, in elective processes, assemblies and other mechanisms that integrate the participation of their members.
  8. Ensure that the information and records provided by the organizations to the International Alliance are duly documented and updated, such as the registry of directors and members, bylaws, regulations, etc.

7. Resolution on Fair Trade. Presented by ANR (Colombia)

Understanding that the recycling market develops in a voracious context of several chains of unfair intermediation and uncertainty of international markets without price regulation, impacting national territories under the current system of capitalism.

Whereas, we, waste pickers, are the ones who recover waste every day with our hands, waste belongs to us, so we have the raw material to add value to waste by transforming it into finished by-products, adding value to the recycling chain through industrialization, and reducing the gaps of intermediation.

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Ensure that fair prices and weights are promoted within the organizations, avoiding being oppressed by the intermediation that impoverishes the economy of waste pickers.  
  2. Promote fair labor schemes to add value to the direct sale of products or by-products, build new capacities and access better income for waste pickers, including them in the processes and benefits.

8. Resolution on the Threats of Privatization of the Recycling Service. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina), RENAREC (Ecuador)

Whereas, the advance of large corporations and private companies constantly threaten our main sources of work as waste pickers; that recycling has become an important line of business for large capitalists to amass their fortunes by excluding their original workers, that is us; that any new private enterprise directly threatens our daily survival; that this phenomenon grows year by year and expels our sisters and brothers from their traditional work; that it is a situation without national or continental barriers and that the same corporations threaten in different countries; that in many cases, the advance of the private sector has the connivance of political power; that these conflicts take place in dumps, dump sites, landfills, cities, towns, and collection sites (FACCyR – Argentina).

Whereas, nowadays, some municipalities do business with garbage to generate income with private companies, which in many cases are disguised as false environmental solutions without considering the important work of waste pickers (RENAREC – Ecuador).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Internationally repudiate any threat from private companies to our work, giving priority to the interests of our bases before any other interests (FACCyR . Argentina).
  2. Repudiate political persecution of our sector in any country in the world (FACCyR – Argentina).
  3. Support campaigns for the recognition of waste pickers and encourage payment-for-service negotiations in each affiliated country (FACCyR – Argentina).
  4. Make these conflicts a priority in IAWP’s communication dissemination (FACCyR –Argentina).
  5. Make alliances with other unions and international organizations to obtain support in this area (FACCyR – Argentina).

9. Resolution on Social Protection. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina)

Whereas access to Social Security is a right for people in many countries, and we, waste pickers, do not have access to any health insurance, as we work long hours in very unhealthy conditions, exposed to high health risks, many in dumpsites without any type of personal protection.

Whereas, many waste pickers are physically or cognitively handicapped due to age or health implications and are therefore unable to fully develop their recycling work.

We believe that our activity is part of the popular and informal economy, with millions of waste pickers in the world and that we are part of the more than 80% of the world’s population that survives in the precarious working conditions of these economies (FACCyR – Argentina).

We are subject to insecurity as a result of precarious working conditions, a lack of access to tools and personal protection equipment, health systems and decent wages. This puts our lives in danger in many cases, and makes the living conditions of waste pickers extremely risky, violating basic human rights (FACCyR – Argentina).

We believe that social protection is crucial to the lives of all workers around the world, and that it must be addressed in every country to build a more prosperous and humane future (FACCyR – Argentina).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Establish national actions to access social security by identifying the waste picker population and including schemes and costs appropriate to their reality in order to be protected, as well as access to their family members.
  1. Adopt as its own the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the application of Social Protection for All, articles 22 and 25 (FACCyR – Argentina).

Article 22: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 25: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

  1. That the International Alliance of Waste Pickers actively participate in the UN and the ILO, to bring our voice to the discussions and ensure that every State incorporates Convention 102 on Social Security, Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors, and Recommendation 204 on the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. Support national requests from each AIR affiliate to their governments for the extension of Social Protection programs to workers in the popular economy (FACCyR – Argentina).
  1. Share the existing experiences of affiliated members that have made progress in these areas in order to support and assist other affiliated members (FACCyR – Argentina).

10. Resolution on Accidents and Risks in our workplaces. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina)

Whereas we, the waste pickers of the world, are constantly exposed to serious threats and tragedies. We lose our lives; we lose colleagues who disappear buried in landfills by private companies, we are exposed to serious accidents in landfills or on the streets, we suffer from diseases inherent to our work, which often result in painful deaths, and since it is, in most cases, informal work, it is not recognized by the health or social protection system as an occupational disease (FACCyR – Argentina).

Whereas, fires threaten us constantly in landfills, collection sites and in our own homes, losing lives and sources of work (FACCyR – Argentina).

Whereas, in many cases, security and/or paramilitary forces threaten our lives by protecting private businesses at the expense of our sources of livelihood (FACCyR – Argentina).

We understand that our work in recycling involves serious threats to our safety and health, working in landfills, in contact with garbage and dangerous products, and in street hazards; that, in many cases, our organizations were raised fighting against these unsafe and dangerous conditions (FACCyR – Argentina).

Whereas, the appropriate safety and health in our daily work is a step towards the formalization of our work and should be one of our flags of struggle; that decent working conditions are essential to accessing our full labor rights; and that our work requires a number of personal protection equipment that we often cannot access due to their high costs (FACCyR – Argentina).

Whereas, the first congress of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers is the place to fervently address the issue of threats to our lives and to our safety and health in every possible environment in order to safeguard the quality and continuity of our lives (FACCyR – Argentina).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Report, make visible and assist tragedies such as fires, deaths, and accidents of its members, looking for common axes related to the lack of recognition of our work, the progression of private interests over our work, inequality (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. Support our affiliated countries to take Health and Safety as their own flag in the defense of our rights as waste pickers by encouraging initiatives and requesting programs and training (FACCyR – Argentina).
  3. Provide information to each affiliated country with recommendations and useful inputs to promote the care of our waste pickers (FACCyR – Argentina).
  4. Investigate available programs or projects so that our affiliates can work on this issue in each country (FACCyR – Argentina).
  5. Share successful experiences of organizations in affiliated countries in order to learn about and replicate them (FACCyR – Argentina).
  6. Create a Health and Safety body of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers that can follow and support the local requests of its affiliates (FACCyR – Argentina).
  7. Managing the monitoring and assistance in case of emergency situations such as fires, in order to manage support actions such as campaigns and economic recovery for the affected waste pickers.

11. Resolution on Extended Producer Responsibility. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina), RENAREC (Ecuador)

We believe that the big companies are the main polluting actors in the world and that they are responsible for their production practices and the impact they cause on the environment, climate change and the lives of the poorest people on the planet (FACCyR – Argentina).

We believe that EPR has the capacity to benefit the environment and create decent work in waste management. We also understand that this issue has been under discussion for more than 6 years among the founding members of this International Alliance of Waste Pickers, having developed a joint position and other research. The whole world has to recognize the fundamental role of waste pickers in reducing the impact of plastics, and therefore there can be no EPR system that is fair and effective, socially and environmentally responsible, if it does not work together with waste pickers and their organizations (FACCyR – Argentina).

Whereas, several countries are currently moving towards extended producer responsibility, based on circular economy approaches, so that companies become responsible for the waste they place on the market to reduce the environmental impacts they cause, but, in many cases, this does not include the work of the waste pickers and becomes a source of enrichment for private companies (RENAREC – Ecuador).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Maintain our position on Extended Producer Responsibility, updating it with the signature of the International Alliance of Recyclers (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. Sustain active campaigns in support of this positioning, seeking to add more and more organizations and agencies that adopt it (FACCyR – Argentina).
  3. Communicate the values of this positioning in every public and private action as the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (FACCyR – Argentina).
  4. Actively support local initiatives that seek to promote Extended Producer Responsibility laws (FACCyR – Argentina).
  5. Advise on EPR negotiations, helping waste pickers engage in institutional systems that promote economic and symbolic support for recyclers (FACCyR – Argentina).
  6. Promote case studies related to the subject and their international dissemination (FACCyR – Argentina). 
  7. Implement national actions for the construction of public policies that include waste pickers within Extended Producer Responsibility schemes as fundamental actors for the provision and recognition of the service for the recovery and use of waste, through contracting processes or alliances.

12. Resolution on the Rights of Women Recyclers. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina), RENAREC (Ecuador), UNICATADORES (Brazil)

Whereas, according to the Constitution of the International Alliance, in its articles 7.1.11; 7.2.5 and 7.4.4 establishes the participation of at least 50% of women and non-binary or trans people within the governance structure of the International Alliance and among its delegates.

Recognizing that the role of women has been positioned worldwide, that the visibility of waste pickers has been promoted, and given that in several countries the population composition of the recycling movement is more than 50% of women heads of household (RENAREC – Ecuador).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Guarantee the participation of women and non-binary people in the decision-making of the International Alliance by defining standards that ensure non-discrimination.
  2. Guarantee the participation of women in decision-making in all affiliated countries of the International Alliance and in their organizations (FACCyR – Argentina; UNICATADORES – Brazil).
  3. Build a prevention and action protocol against acts of violence and discrimination against women (FACCyR – Argentina).
  4. Promote training and educommunication actions on the importance of women’s role. 

13. Resolution on Child Labor. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina)

Considering the objectives of our Constitution: 2.16 “To work with affiliates, governments, and other organizations to facilitate the education of the children of waste pickers and to improve access to childcare to ensure child labor is abolished” (FACCyR – Argentina).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Adopt as its own the Convention 182 of the International Labor Organization “on the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor” (1999) (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. Promote strategies among all its affiliates for the eradication and prevention of child labor, supporting education and socio-community care projects. We believe that recycling is part of the popular economy, and therefore, we are one of the working sectors with the most vulnerable rights, but our main objective is the respect and recognition of our human and labor rights. Therefore, it is important to approach child labor from the point of view of care and support, and not from that of condemnation (FACCyR – Argentina).
  3. Develop an international policy of support networks to promote and strengthen projects focused on the care, recreation and education of waste pickers’ children around the world. These spaces are extremely important to avoid taking our children to work as a care strategy (FACCyR – Argentina).

14. Resolution on Human Rights and Care Policy. Presented by UCRUS (Uruguay)

Whereas, more than 20 million people worldwide depend directly on recycling for their livelihoods. They work in landfills and dumpsites, collect waste from garbage bags or garbage containers located in public spaces, or even do household waste collection. Waste pickers generate considerable environmental, economic and social benefits in the cities where they work.

Considering   the need  to  establish policies of acknowledgement, redistribution and reduction of the overload of care work, we believe that the defense of a dignified life implies recognizing the deep and persistent inequalities in the distribution of care work within the member organizations of the IAWP (UCRUS – Uruguay).

Reaffirming the importance of having a modular and comprehensive proposal to raise awareness and mainstream the different areas of the IAWP as well as its membership-based organizations with objectives that, in the short, medium and long term, reverse the pre-existing inequalities in terms of gender, race and social class, thus achieving that the Alliance is positioned as a tool for transformation not only at the level of the productive sphere but also reproductive of its members (UCRUS – Uruguay).

Whereas, many waste pickers live in migration contexts, exposed to persecution and repression by the public forces.

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Identify, analyze and develop spaces and policies for national and global advocacy that guarantee and distribute care in a fair and equitable basis for the members of the IAWP (UCRUS – Uruguay).
  2. Promote, design and develop specific care policies in the membership-based organizations of IAWP (UCRUS – Uruguay).
  3. Create a monitoring and political training committee to identify, redistribute and reduce the care burdens that interfere with the greater and better participation of people with intergenerational care responsibilities and/or people with physical dependencies (UCRUS – Uruguay).   
  4. Promote analysis and research on human rights violations experienced by waste pickers.
  5. Approach organizations that defend human rights, such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the United Nations.
  6. Promote the right to safe and free migration by refuting all acts of human trafficking and mafia schemes of organ trafficking (UCRUS – Uruguay).
  7. Reject the criminalization of poverty and any policy of repression against waste pickers and their organizations, as well as actions of police violence and/or restrictions on free movement in the cities (UCRUS – Uruguay).

15. Resolution on Political Independence. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina)

Understanding that the International Alliance of Waste Pickers was born with a union and internationalist spirit, whose objective is the unrestricted defense of every waste picker in the world; that the unionism and defense of human and labor rights must have a voice free of ties of any kind (FACCyR – Argentina).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. We resolve to declare the political independence of our International Alliance of Waste Pickers. The AIR shall maintain a neutral position towards any political party (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. Its affiliated organizations are free to link with political parties or organizations in any way they choose, but not on behalf of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (FACCyR – Argentina).
  3. The International Alliance of Waste Pickers will not accept funding from political parties (FACCyR – Argentina).

16. Resolution on Corruption. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina)

We understand that corruption is a threat and an obstacle to the development of our organization and our growth as a union. We understand that international and national leaders must follow ethical and moral values based on the rejection of corruption and personal interests, giving priority to the interests of all waste pickers. We understand that corruption is the misuse of responsibility, authority, rights, opportunities and connections for personal benefit (FACCyR – Argentina).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Repudiate any act of corruption of our leaders and affiliated organizations (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. Publicly fight against corruption in the recycling sector (FACCyR – Argentina).
  3. Assist and support affiliates who denounce acts of corruption (FACCyR – Argentina).
  4. Develop a protocol to prevent and deal with cases of corruption (FACCyR – Argentina).

17. Resolution on Information Management. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina)

Understanding that the affiliated countries have innumerable and diverse experiences in organizing their waste pickers; that each country, in its own way, records these experiences; that information is a powerful tool for learning and improving; that virtuality today is an accessible tool for all our affiliates (FACCyR – Argentina),

Whereas, training is an essential tool for the organization and development of our sector, it is also a basic right that, in many cases, is denied to us (FACCyR – Argentina).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Develop a training and capacity-building scheme to propose to all IAWP affiliates (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. Create a worldwide virtual library accessible to IAWP affiliated members, providing useful information on different experiences: manuals, booklets, research, dissemination material, etc. (FACCyR – Argentina). 
  3. Develop a translation scheme to facilitate specifically required versions (FACCyR – Argentina).
  4. Adopt timely communication systems and promote communication campaigns about our work, positioning our voice in the participation spaces of the global agenda, socializing and training our waste pickers through useful tools such as press releases and audiovisual material, among others.

18. Economic Independence of the IAWP. Presented by FACCYR (Argentina) (without regional consensus).

Whereas, several affiliated organizations create alliances or relationships with private and cooperative actors for the development of programs, plans and projects in their own countries.

Understanding that the International Alliance of Waste Pickers was born with a union and internationalist spirit, whose objective is the unrestricted defense of every waste picker in the world, that the union and defense of human and labor rights must have a voice free of ties of any kind, and that large corporations and companies respond to their financial interests and not to the welfare of the people (FACCyR – Argentina).

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. Declare the economic independence of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers. The IAWP shall maintain a position of neutrality towards any multinational or large corporation. Its affiliated organizations are free to engage in any way they choose with multinational organizations or large corporations, but not on behalf of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (FACCyR – Argentina).
  2. The International Alliance of Waste Pickers will not accept funding from multinationals or large corporations. Funding will come from the payment of its affiliated organizations, philanthropy and foundations that do not have class interests in our trade (FACCyR – Argentina).

23. Strengthening the Alliance’s autonomy and independence from large corporate capital in the solid waste sector. Proposed by UNICATADORES (Brazil)

Whereas the waste destination and recycling model of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP) should be the popular recycling model, that is, a model in which wealth, knowledge and the means of production are distributed among the majority of waste pickers.

Whereas the model proposed by large capital in the area of waste destination services and the recycling industry is based on the concentration and private accumulation of wealth.

Whereas the waste pickers represent the work in the recycling production chain and the large private patronage organizations represent capital. In this sense, it is common for there to be proposals to work together to meet the need for labor that large capital needs in order to continue making profits and accumulating wealth.

Whereas when large companies establish projects directly with waste pickers, the category ends up being subordinated to the demands and rules imposed by the private logic of accumulating wealth, and subjected to their knowledge and technologies.

Whereas leaders can be bribed for personal gain by adhering to this type of relationship and projects that take away waste pickers’ autonomy to make decisions and control their own workforces. 

We have decided that

  1. The IAWP must not be subordinated to the patron organizations of large capital interested in using the work of waste pickers to increase their profits from solid waste management and final destination services, nor only as labor in recycling projects.
  2. Relations and projects between waste pickers and large waste destination service companies must include the guarantee of productive and economic rights for waste picker organizations, guaranteed by the states, as a way of maintaining the autonomy and strengthening of the popular recycling model.
  3. It is up to the IAWP Executive Council to monitor the actions of its elected authorities so that the Alliance’s autonomy is preserved in the face of large capital in the solid waste sector.

NORTH AMERICA- Resolutions endorsed by region

19. EPR Resolution, proposed by AIR-NYC (USA). Presented by Les Valoristes (Canada), GSA (USA)

Waste is increasing, and increasingly includes non-recyclable, non-reusable, and hard-to-manage materials, making it difficult for municipalities to adequately fund waste management. By not taking financial responsibility for their materials, producers are externalizing the costs of their products, which incentivizes the increased production of harmful waste.

Growing waste production and inadequate funding for waste management are creating environmental injustices that affect our communities the most. EPR is increasingly seen as a solution to these problems, yet EPR can also pose a threat to waste picker livelihoods if not designed well.  

Noting: Waste pickers and other informal environmental workers are mostly excluded from EPR planning and implementation;

Noting: Waste pickers lack recognition/credit for their role in existing EPR systems

Noting: Existing EPR systems don’t fairly compensate workers, lack inclusion mandates, and promote privatization and consolidation of the waste industry.

Noting: Despite the challenges faced by waste pickers, well-designed EPR systems can create and enhance opportunities for waste pickers and other workers in the informal economy. 

IAWP resolves to:

  • Increase advocacy efforts for waste picker inclusion in EPR planning and implementation.
  • Develop models for inclusive EPR legislation.
  • Provide direct support to affiliates faced with evaluating proposed EPR legislation.
  • Continue developing EPR case studies.
  • Document in more detail the harmful impacts of existing EPR systems and waste pollution on our communities.
  • Establish a global committee and dedicate funding to carry out this work.
  • Do not partner with or accept funding from corporations, particularly those that profit from disposable packaging and oil extraction.

AFRICA – Resolutions (not endorsed by region)

20. Strengthening occupational health and safety for waste pickers. Presented by ARCK (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Whereas, the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP) is committed to supporting and promoting the activities and welfare of waste pickers worldwide;

As for waste pickers, they endure difficult working conditions in dumpsites;

In addition, there are no government social protection programs or health coverage for workers in the waste collection sector;

Whereas, training sessions, exchanges of experience and financial support are essential to strengthening the capacities and activities of Alliance members;

Therefore, it is resolved:

  1. The IAWP reaffirms its commitment to promoting and defending the occupational health and safety of its affiliates and their members.
  1. The IAWP is committed to allocating adequate funding and financial resources to address workers’ occupational health and safety issues.
  1. The IAWP commits to creating a special fund for workers’ emergencies.
  1. The IAWP is committed to strengthening the capacity of its affiliates to address occupational health and safety and other social protection issues.
  1.  The IAWP invites Alliance bodies to organize regular training sessions for members, focusing on strengthening technical, organizational and strategic skills related to occupational health and safety, social protection, workers’ access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensuring safe working environments.
  1. The IAWP urges the mobilization of adequate financial resources to support waste picker associations and organizations, especially by promoting access to appropriate and sustainable funding to directly support affiliated members, particularly those facing emergency health risks.
  1. The IAWP recommends the regular organization of exchange and experience-sharing visits between its members and affiliates on topics related to social protection, occupational health and safety, and fundraising, in order to facilitate collaboration, mutual learning and collective action.

This resolution is adopted by the Alliance to affirm its commitment to improving occupational health and safety standards for waste pickers worldwide.

21. Advocating for Improved Livelihood and Work Conditions of Waste Pickers through Corporate Lobbying. Presented by ASWOL (Nigeria) 

Whereas, waste pickers in Nigeria and numerous other African nations are being exploited to sanitize the environmental reputation of major corporations like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and PepsiCo, 

Whereas, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo rank among the foremost polluting companies in Nigeria, 

Whereas, the corporate engagement with waste pickers often adopts a superficial charitable approach and fails to address the root cause of waste generation and the lack of inclusive waste management systems in Nigeria, including the absence of comprehensive plastic policies that regulate single-use plastic and incentivize the collection and recycling of plastics.

Whereas, waste pickers lack significant bargaining power and engage with these corporations on an ad hoc basis.

Whereas, the current waste management system in Nigeria places an unfair burden on waste pickers, who lack the resources and infrastructure to manage waste effectively, the implementation of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy in Nigeria, could incentivize corporations to design products with end-of-life management in mind, thereby potentially reducing the burden on waste pickers and promoting a more sustainable waste management system.

Whereas, proactive interventions are essential to redirect the corporate approach towards waste pickers.

Therefore, ASWOL recommends the following actions and resolutions:

  • The IAWP to spearhead proactive lobbying efforts targeting corporations to enhance waste pickers’ access to workspace, logistics, equipment, and production capacity. 
  • The IAWP advocates for the development and implementation of an effective Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy in Nigeria that holds companies accountable for the life cycle of their products, including post-consumer waste, and provides resources to support the integration of waste pickers into formal waste management systems. 
  • The IAWP to design and implement tailored collective bargaining and negotiation training programs aimed at equipping waste pickers with the necessary skills to engage in meaningful negotiations with companies. 
  • The IAWP to engage with the government and relevant stakeholders in Nigeria to advocate for the development and implementation of comprehensive plastic policies that could potentially improve the working conditions of waste pickers 
  • The IAWP to develop comprehensive guidance on various schemes and models that waste pickers’ organizations can adopt to establish and sustain worker-run collective organizations 

22. Proposed resolutions of EGIG BTP (Guinea) 

Based on consultation with the members of the Board of EGIG BTP and with the approval of the General Coordinator and the President of EGIG BTP, our organization proposes the following:

  1. Combating child labor in landfills and dumpsites;
    By creating measures for their integration into children’s homes for orphans and their school attendance.
  2. The whole informal sector faces serious hygiene problems;
    We’re calling for mobile toilets to be installed in markets and especially in dumpsites, to prevent workers from relieving themselves in the workplace, as is the case here in Guinea.
  3. Advocate with national authorities and international institutions for broader household awareness concerning the hygienic conditions in all the localities we cover.

Constitution amendments

Constitutional amendments proposed by AIR-NYC (USA), Les Valoristes (Canada) and GSA (USA):

1. Reduce Congressional terms from 5 years to 4 years.

2. Include the term ‘reuse workers’ in the definition of waste pickers.

3. The IAWP should fund the Executive Council office bearers, rather than relying on funding from the home organization..