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Waste collectors – both formal and informal – are critical to helping deliver a circular economy and yet, often they are among the most marginalized people in the world. Today, there are an estimated 15 million waste pickers who remove about 20 percent of the world’s metropolitan waste. They are deeply entrepreneurial, hardworking, and skilled at identifying and collecting waste. Without their efforts, our cites would be less healthy and our environment more polluted.

We need them. And now they need us, to support them through the COVID crisis with basic necessities like protective masks, gloves, handwashing stations, basic food rations, and supplementary income if they are unable to work, while building capacity to improve their quality of life and economic sustainability for the longer term.

Make a donation to make a difference. Pick any project below to support.


Waste Collector COVID-19 Support Fund
Waste collectors are critical in a circular economy, yet are among the most marginalized people. Many are women and children living at the fringes of society, unable to access health care and education. Yet they play a vital role in their communities by removing waste and keeping materials out of the environment. They aren't equipped to be on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We ask for your help to support their immediate needs while advancing better future conditions.


Ghana, India, and Nigeria

Support & Elevate Ghanaian Informal Collectors
While responsible for delivering the majority of the world's materials to the recycling value chain, informal collectors are also critical to maintaining public health and sanitation. They are often marginalized in their own communities and have limited access to basic needs such as food, education, and healthcare. In Ghana, the COVID-19 pandemic is deeply affecting the lives and livelihoods of the waste collector community and they need immediate support to cope with the crisis.
Support & Elevate Indian Waste Collectors
While responsible for delivering the majority of the world's materials to the recycling value chain, informal collectors are also critical to maintaining public health and sanitation. They are often marginalized in their own communities and have limited access to basic needs such as food, education, hygiene, and safety. In Rural Rajasthan, India the COVID-19 pandemic is deeply affecting the lives and livelihoods of the waste collector community.
Support & Elevate Nigerian Waste Collectors
While responsible for delivering the majority of the world's materials to the recycling value chain, informal collectors are also critical to maintaining public health and sanitation. They are often marginalized in their own communities and have limited access to basic needs such as food, decent shelter, and healthcare. In Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic is deeply affecting the lives and livelihoods of the waste collector community and they need immediate support to cope with the crisis.


Brazil, India, and Kenya

Empowering & Supporting Waste Pickers Globally
Waste pickers' livelihoods consist of combing landfills and neighborhoods to collect pieces of plastic trash. Individually, these items are almost worthless, but if enough are bundled together, they may be sold for recycling. These communities provide a vital service but are compromised by their living conditions and marginalized by their lack of status. They are being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and need urgent support to deal with its consequences.


Haiti, Honduras, and Taiwan

COVID-19 Response for First Mile waste collectors
Global response efforts are underway for COVID-19 but the poor are disproportionately left behind. The First Mile, an initiative of WORK and Thread, supports waste collectors in Haiti, Honduras, and Taiwan. This network of thousands of women and men working hard to clean up the environment to make ends meet mostly lack an identity and access to safety net services. Your donation supports our comprehensive response of prevention, treatment, and access to medical care, and long-term support.


India and Southeast Asia

Supporting Waste Pickers through the COVID crisis
In many parts of SE Asia and Latin America, informal waste collectors are the backbone of the waste management system, salvaging materials and keeping them out of the ocean and environment. Now they are also on the frontline of the COVID19 crisis - vulnerable and exposed. The Circulate Initiative is working with partners in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Argentina to get food, protective gear, and hygiene kits to these communities now, and to help them build a better future post-crisis.



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