South African WAste Pickers Association (SAWPA)

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Who are waste Pickers?

Someone who collects reusable and recyclable materials from residential and commercial waste bins, landfill sites and open spaces in order to revalue them and generate an income, (South Africa Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries and Department of Science and Innovation, 2020)

Waste Picking provides job creation and poverty alleviation in times of hardship. Furthermore, waste pickers are the backbone of recycling in many global south countries. The South African Waste Pickers Association have between 4000 to 6000 members across all nine provinces of South Africa. For over 16 years, our association has provided social, economic, and environmental benefits to South Africa through our work!

Latest News

SAWPA Statement: Collapse of landfill and death of waste picker

Ennerdale landfill site which is located in Lawley, south of Johannesburg under the guardian ship of the City of Johannesburg was rocked by an unusual accident. At least one body of the female was discovered in a pile of waste while others are still missing. Read More Here

Displaced waste pickers in Pietermaritzburg embark on protest action

Waste pickers operating in the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg are today protesting against been denied access to their work space, the landfill site. The waste pickers have not been able to access the landfill in the past 3 months. Read More Here

SAWPA Biennial 2022: Celebrating 13 years of movement building

We, the South African Waste Pickers Association today democratically elected a new leadership structure. This follows a three-day convening of our SAWPA leadership at our biennial meeting, attended by 120 waste picker leaders from all nine provinces and are based in 38 municipalities.  Read More Here

Resources & Publications

Zero Waste Projects

Zero Waste is the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health ( Zero Waste International Alliance).

The integration of waste pickers is fundamental for the successful implementation of zero waste systems. SAWPA members have been an integral part of zero waste projects in South Africa. 

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+27 71 792 2331 (Lefa Mononga).

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