It is estimated that millions of individuals around the world work as waste pickers to support themselves and their families. Nearly everywhere, waste picking is dirty, unpredictable, and dangerous: often done by the most marginalized people in a society.
As a founding member of the Inclusive Waste Recycling Consortium (iWrc)—previously known as Project Phoenix—SAI works with companies and researchers to professionalize waste picking, advancing health and well-being while connecting waste-picking cooperatives with companies in need of ethically sorted materials.
This June, SAI’s President & CEO, Jane Hwang, presented at the first iWrc Roundtable about how Social Fingerprint® can be used by waste-picking cooperatives to improve conditions for workers. Other presenters included representatives from early supporters of iWrc, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark, and HP Inc.
Hwang also toured two waste-picking facilities from the Project Phoenix pilot in Brazil. Through that program, both were able to make vast improvements to health and safety and invest in upgrades that drastically improved working conditions and wages. Workers in both cooperatives now earn more than the national minimum wage, an astounding achievement for the waste-picking sector and further proof that dignity at work is possible in any type of workplace.