Empowering & Supporting Waste Pickers Globally

by Meridian Institute
Empowering & Supporting Waste Pickers Globally
Aug 9, 2021

August 2021 Plastic Waste Reclaimers Update

Since reporting in April 2021, the Waste Reclaimers Workgroup (PRW) has continued to work closely with the Ocean Plastic Leadership Network (OPLN) to raise awareness of how plastic reclaimers lives are impacted by the rapidly growing quantity of plastic waste all over the globe.  Meridian Institute, which works with both PRW and OPLN, facilitated a series of discussions in July 2021 in which multi-national companies, NGOs and governmental representatives were asked to articulate a wide range of issues pertinent to the possible initiation of negotiations for a global treaty on plastics.  OPLN is a membership organization committed to engaging all stakeholders in a robust discussion of the challenges posed by plastic waste.  The insights gained in these discussions will be used to educate country-by-country UN negotiators charged with developing the Global Treaty on Plastic Waste.  The goal is to provide the UN negotiators with an overview of where stakeholders have alignment or differences regarding the extent to which plastic is causing harm to people and the planet.  Consideration will also be given to what needs to happen to manage these wastes responsibly.  Because many people are simply unaware of the role waste reclaimers play in global management of plastic waste, PRW, Meridian and OPLN continue to seek opportunities to share insights about the work of waste reclaimers.

To bring the role of waste reclaimers alive at the OPLN Global Plastic Waste Dialogues, PRW enlisted the assistance of individuals who had either personally collected waste (or were very familiar with the issues important to collectors), to attend the Global Dialogue and engage in the discussions.  Using translation services, as well as facilitated cross-cultural discussions, the waste reclaimers shared information about types of plastic waste that are particularly difficult for them to collect, sell or dispose.  In an unusual back and forth discussion, the reclaimers were willing to offer suggestions and make recommendations for what could be done to help them be more effective at collecting plastic waste from landfills and other locations.  Companies, some of which produce the products the waste reclaimers had highlighted, participated in the meeting as well.  Everyone was able to listen and ask clarifying questions. Despite the massive challenges created by plastic waste, the waste reclaimers noted that some plastic products have improved their lives and livelihoods.

In the coming months, the Plastic Reclaimers Workgroup will discuss principles of engagement they recommend be monitored when various organizations engage with this sector.  Issues such as adherence to child labor laws, renumeration, access to clean water, food, safe shelter, medical care, and other humanitarian issues have been identified.  In addition, Meridian will be working with OPLN to identify additional platforms for visibility including further participation in the development of the UN Global Plastic Waste Treaty. 

With the support of organizations like GlobalGiving, Dow Corporation, and individuals like you, we look forward to continuing to support the work of waste reclaimers who play a key role in the creation of a circular economy of materials.   

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Meridian Institute

Location: Dillon, CO - USA
Twitter: @meridorg
Project Leader:
John Ehrmann
Dillon, CO United States
$4,568 raised of $300,000 goal
68 donations
$295,432 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Meridian Institute has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.