Your trash was their treasure, but lockdown pushed them to ...

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Your trash was their treasure, but lockdown pushed them to near-starvation

Waste pickers’ incomes decimated as recycling facilities shut and demand for reusable materials declines

Senior reporter

Hundreds of thousands of waste pickers and their families have been pushed to the brink of starvation under SA’s Covid-19 lockdown.

A report by the World Wide Fund for Nature SA, International Union for Conservation of Nature and the department of environment, forestry and fisheries shows how the lockdown, which saw recycling facilities across the country shut in levels four and five, placed “unprecedented” and “devastating” pressure on SA’s 215,000 waste pickers.

Released last week, the document reveals that waste reclaimers collect, sort and sell 90% of South African households’ rubbish for recycling...

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