Fundraising Campaign: Support Waste Pickers Worldwide, Advance a Circular Economy

Fundraising Campaign: Support Waste Pickers Worldwide, Advance a Circular Economy

A Global Partnership between Meridian Institute, The Circulate Initiative, PYXERA Global, and WORK
Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 5:00pm

CONTENT: Press Release

WASHINGTON DC, June 4, 2020 /3BL Media/ Meridian Institute, The Circulate Initiative, PYXERA Global, and WORK announce a collaborative fundraising campaign on Global Giving to provide much-needed support to waste picker communities in need. Thus far, COVID-19 relief efforts have fallen far short of what is needed to ward off extreme hunger and disease exacerbated by the pandemic. While direct donations of personal protective equipment have been helpful to NGOs working with this sector, additional funding is needed for items such as food, soap, water, basic health infrastructure such as pop-up clinics and isolation units, and more protective equipment.

Donations will support key local organizations addressing the immediate needs of waste picker communities around the world. Over the longer term, donations will be used to help these communities build resilience, improve working conditions, address poor housing conditions, and build capacity among workers.

Learn more about the campaign and donate here.

Waste Pickers play a critical role in establishing a circular economy

Waste pickers—a community made up of millions of people worldwide—make a living collecting, sorting, recycling, and selling materials that someone else has thrown away. These individuals are vital for a circular economy in which waste is no longer wasted. They play a key role in capturing massive amounts of plastic, among other materials, that is either landfilled or contaminating our lands, waterways, and oceans. Today, there are an estimated 15 million waste pickers who remove approximately 20 percent of the world’s metropolitan waste. They are extraordinarily entrepreneurial, hardworking, and skilled at identifying materials of value in the waste stream for collection.

Advancing a circular economy by closing the recycling infrastructure gap

COVID-19 has revealed a complicated dynamic for companies interested in sourcing used plastic. As recent as five months ago, a handful of multinationals made commitments to shift to 50% to 100% recycled content in their plastic packaging. Widespread gaps in recycling infrastructure at the global scale, however, inhibits this goal as companies cannot procure enough recycled content to meet these commitments. Some of these companies are now looking to the untapped potential of the informal sector to augment the global supply of recycled plastic. 

Consumer packaged goods companies, among other actors along the plastics value chain, have a host of reasons to be interested in the informal sector. Some are focused on transitioning their business practices to align with a circular economy to mitigate the environmental impact of plastic waste. Others are interested in sources of used plastic to incorporate into new products in response to consumer and investor demands. Still others would like to develop relationships with waste picker communities to enable them to become productive players in company supply chains.

What will it take to integrate and keep waste pickers in a formalized circular economy? 

Since March, COVID-19 has sent shock waves through the informal sector, those least equipped to deal with the consequences of the virus. For these vulnerable communities, the lock downs have exacerbated food insecurity and access to clean water, shelter, and personal protective equipment. Living conditions in many of these communities precludes quarantining of individuals or social distancing. Families are surviving each day without access to handwashing or other sanitary facilities. An opportunity exists now to help these individuals and communities with meaningful emergency financial assistance and position them as key stakeholders in planning for the economy of the future.

Learn more about the campaign and donate here.

About Meridian Institute

Meridian builds understanding, guides collaboration, and drives action to address our world’s complex challenges. We help our clients and partners develop and implement solutions to complicated, often controversial problems—big and small, global and local. Together, we navigate the questions, context, and implications surrounding the challenges ahead. 

About PYXERA Global

For over 30 years and in more than 100 countries, PYXERA Global has partnered with companies, social mission-driven organizations, and governments, advising each and implementing programs toward solving complex social problems. We bring the three sectors together in collaboration with one another, leveraging the strengths and differences of each to build resiliency and capability in under-resourced communities.

About WORK

Our mission at Work is to accompany families in Haiti out of poverty through good, dignified jobs. We work in one community in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, called Menelas, where about 1,500 families live. Our goal is simple, to place two heads of households into a good, dignified job, so that our families and their community can lift themselves out of poverty forever.

About The Circulate Initiative

The Circulate Initiative incubates, measures, and amplifies inclusive solutions that stop plastic waste from flowing into the ocean and advance the circular economy while generating positive socio-economic outcomes in emerging economies. 

For questions, please contact:

John Holm

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, PYXERA Global