Journal Articles

The management of South Africa’s landfills and waste pickers on them: Impacting lives and livelihoods

Effective management of waste and the promotion and
management of recycling activities are necessary for sustainable
and liveable cities. A key but unrecognised element in promoting
recycling is the efforts of waste pickers who make a living from
recycling mainline recyclables. This article aims to describe the
approaches used on 10 landfills in South Africa to manage waste
pickers’ access to recyclables and their daily activities on the
landfills. A multiple case study design and cross-case analysis were
used in this study. The sustainable livelihoods framework (SLF) was
used to analyse and explain the data. The results showed that waste
management policies and practices directly influence the waste
pickers’ access to recyclable waste and their livelihoods. Finally,
some inclusionary and exclusionary practices are highlighted that
could guide inclusive, participatory and co-productive practices
for waste pickers in South Africa towards increased recognition,
access, dignity and income.



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