Media & Video

Photos : Fotos

PSWM videos : Catadores, Gramacho, and Binners in Victoria

History of Coopcent ABC

2010; em Português

Three years ago, the ABC-Coopcent (Central Cooperative collectors and collectors of recyclable materials of Grande ABC), which operates in all seven cities in the ABC region (Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo, and São Caetano) added 10 entities, including new cooperatives. The video outlines the following process: The collection of solid waste (which is completed door to door or with the help of trucks), the separation of material, and lastly, the sale of the items directly to companies and industries. In addition to marketing the cardboard, white paper, mixed containers and tetrapak, Coopcent collects PET bottles, which they use to produce clothesline for laundry. With two bottles they can do 10 meters of clothesline by cutting the wire and braiding the plastic. Part of the sales of the clothesline help to pay for the expenses of Coopcent.

Binning Through Victoria

2009; in English

This video, produced by the Community-based Research Laboratory (CBRL) at the University of Victoria, in collaboration with the MOTHER’s project, highlights a Participatory Video project conducted with Binners in Victoria, Canada. Documenting the experiences and challenges of some Binners, these individuals reveal their lives on a tour of their ‘traplines’ and participate in the distribution of specifically designed tent-trailers to improve their quality of life. This project is part of a larger research initiative focusing on the livelihoods of informal and organized recyclers in different countries of the world. More • Mais »

Beyond Gramacho (Part 1)

2009; in English

Beyond Gramacho reveals the socio-economic and environmental conditions, struggles and opportunities that are present in informal resource recovery. Over 1800 Catadores work day and night at the landfill and neighboring recycling cooperatives, recovering recyclable materials from the waste stream.  Almost at its capacity, Gramacho receives about 7,000 metric tons of waste every day, not only from Rio de Janeiro and Duque de Caxias but also from the neighboring municipalities.

This video takes you through the residential area, a squatter settlement beside the landfill, where many of the Catadores and their families live. The video portrays the sad reality of the extreme poverty and exclusion this community faces.  As meager as this work is, it is for many the only life they have known, and the proposed closure of the landfill poses a major threat to their livelihoods. The video illustrates the growing national social movement of Catadores, the Movimento Nacional dos Catadores, and showcases some successful experiences from the Greater Metropolitan Region of São Paulo

Versão em português 

Beyond Gramacho (Part 2)

2009; in English

Beyond Gramacho reveals the socio-economic and environmental conditions, struggles and opportunities that are present in informal resource recovery. Over 1800 Catadores work day and night at the landfill and neighboring recycling cooperatives, recovering recyclable materials from the waste stream.  Almost at its capacity, Gramacho receives about 7,000 metric tons of waste every day, not only from Rio de Janeiro and Duque de Caxias but also from the neighboring municipalities.

Versão em português 

Truck Inauguration


The Rede Gerando Renda project (Network Generating Income), an initiative of PSWM project members and Instituto Gea, has received funding from Petrobras Ambiental to strengthen collective commercialization and networking in the region. Some of this funding has gone towards acquiring a new truck to transport materials within the groups to facilitate the selective collection for the cooperatives. The truck has improved the capacity of the cooperative members to transport more materials and network. Collective commercialization enables the cooperatives to sell their materials together and increase their income.

Midterm Evaluation


In the News

O desenvolvimento da industria da reciclagem dos materiais no Brasil

O desenvolvimento da industria da reciclagem dos materiais no Brasil

2011-10-13 • by/por Fábio Fonseca Figueiredo

O desenvolvimento da indústria da reciclagem dos materiais no Brasil: Motivação econômica ou benefício ambiental conseguido com a atividade? (Resumo) A indústria de reciclagem vem se desenvolvendo no Brasil desde o começo dos anos noventa, o que resulta em elevados índices de reciclagem e tecnologia de ponta na reciclagem de alguns materiais. Requisitada como estratégia para a gestão dos resíduos no destino final, a reciclagem possui a particularidade de ser uma atividade econômica bastante rentável. Este artigo analisa os índices da indústria de reciclagem dos materiais no Brasil. More • Mais »

Victoria community forum on

Victoria community forum on "binning"! Film screening and discussion

2009-05-13 • by/por Fábio Fonseca Figueiredo

A public forum showcasing the MOTHERs project, an initiative to empower and improve the quality of life of the binning (informal recycling) community in Victoria, was hosted on May 13th 2009, from 7-9 pm at the Victoria Conservatory of Music (900 Johnson Street, Victoria).  The event, sponsored by VIPIRG, the Community-based Research Laboratory at the University of Victoria, the Committee to End Homelessness and Tony’s Trailers, included the screening of a participatory video produced by the binners and a panel discussion on their experiences using specifically designed tent-trailers to improve their livelihoods.

The forum offered the public the opportunity to engage in dialogue on inclusive waste management and to discuss solutions to overcome the challenges this community is currently facing. For more info visit:

“Swine Flu could spell the end of Garbage City!”

Mona Abouissa reports for Russia Today on the future of waste-as-a-resource based livelihoods in Egypt in the midst of the influenza (H1N1) outbreak.

MICROCAPITAL STORY: Participatory Sustainable Waste Management Project Extends Microfinance to Informal Recyclers in Brazil

March 2009

PSWM microcredit programme featured on the Micro Capital website. Learn More

Preço do alumínio afeta bolso de catadores

February 2009

Article in the regional newspaper ABCD Maoir about the dropping price of recyclebales during the global economic recession (Portuguese only). Learn More

Risorse, Economia e Ambiente

January 2009

PSWM research is featured on the on-line blog of the Italian association ASPO-Italia. The article is in Portuguese. Learn More

New Media Release: Resourceful dumpster divers are important part of our city's fabric

October 2008

Derek Moscato, The Province, October 26, 2008. Read the Article

Exclusive interview with PSWM Project Director Jutta Gutberlet in São Paulo newspaper ABCD Maior

June 2008

Jutta Gutberlet talks to reporter Diego Sartorato about the success of informal recycling in Diadema, and Brazil-Canada research partnerships. Learn More

Media Release: Article

June 28, 2008

Brasil em Xeque, Brazil “Especialista canadense elogia a reciclagem em Diadema;lidos”

3rd Latin American Congress and 1st World - Conference of Waste Pickers.

February 2008

Jutta Gutberlet, Fabio Luiz Cardozo, and Monica (binner’s representative) will be attending the 3rd Latin American Congress and 1st World. The congress will take place in Bogota (Colombia) on March 1st to 4th. More information can be found here

New Publications on the topic of PSWM available now.

February 2008

Jutta Gutberlet, Director of the PSWM project, has recently published “Empowering Collective Recycling Initiatives: Video Documentation and Action Research with Recycling Co-op in Brazil” inResources, Conservation and Recycling, and “Informal Recycling and Occupational Health in Santo André, Brazil” in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research. Click here to visit our publications page for more information and abstracts.

New partnerships: U Vic is forging a new alliance with Universidade de São Paulo.

December 2007

Keep checking back for more news on this development. Click here to visit in the University of São Paulo website (in Portuguese only).

CUexpo 2008 - Community-University Partnerships: Connecting for Change

December 2007

This event takes placee in May 2008 and celebrates collaborative, community-based research. Click here to find out more.

Recently published: Catch up on the latest from Canada and Brazil with the fourth PSWM newsletter.

November 2007

Click here to view the latest newsletter.

Media Release: Article

October 12, 2007

Vivian Moreau, Oak Bay News, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
“Once Man’s Trash”

Media Release : Article

September 12, 2007

Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada
“Diving Into the Life of a Binner “ (PDF, 360kb)

Welcome: New member of staff.

September 2007

Julian Yates joins the PSWM team with a new proposal to integrate solid waste management with urban agriculture with a first case study in one neighbourhood in Diadema. The proposal aims to extend door-to-door collection to organic waste, which can be composted and used in local organic community gardens. The produce from the gardens will provide an additional supply of food in Diadema. Julian will work towards mobilizing and enhancing the capacity of the Diadema community to establish and maintain such an integrated system. Julian graduated from the University of Manchester in the UK with a 1st Class Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Geography. He has gained experience at international NGOs in the UK, including Practical Action, Practical Action publishing, and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. He is now undertaking a Master of Arts degree with Jutta Gutberlet as his supervisor, in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria. Click here to view to full list of CBRL staff at the University of Victoria.

Waste Reduction Day Proceedings : Document

October 16, 2006

Community-Based Research Laboratoy, University of Victoria
“Waste Reduction Day Proceedings “ (PDF, 1.5mb)

Media Release: Article

July 2006

Com Ciência Ambiental, Brazil
“The Challenges of Trash” (PDF, in Portuguese)

Media Release: Article

April 2006

The Martlet, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
“UVic prof helps Brazilians recycle to earn a living”

Media Release: Video documentary

December 2006

EkosTV, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
“Cooperpires: An Example of Recycling Citizenship”

Media Release: Article

June 2005

The Ring, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
“Geographer leads $1 million Brazilian recycling project”


Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

Link: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 600 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 82 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. Their name reflects this dual purpose: 1) The Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance: Mobilizing grassroots action against the spread of incinerators and other polluting, end-of-pipe waste technologies. 2) The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives: Building the movement for environmental justice, local green economies, and creative zero waste solutions.

Movimento Nacional de Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis (MNCR)

Link: Movimento Nacional de Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis (MNCR)

The National Movement of collectors is a social movement of organized scavengers and garbage collectors of recyclable materials throughout Brazil. Their goal is to ensure the leadership of our popular class, which is oppressed by the structures of the social system. They guarantee the principle of class independence, which dismisses the talk of political parties, governments and businesses on our behalf.


British Columbia Centre for Co-operative Studies, University of Victoria

Link: British Columbia Centre for Co-operative Studies, University of Victoria

The British Columbia Institute for Co-operative Studies (BCICS) is a catalyst for research, learning, and teaching about co-operative thought and practice. The Institute, founded in January 2000, is based at the University of Victoria. BCICS collaborates locally, nationally, and internationally with other post-secondary institutions, the co-operative sector, governments, individuals, and communities interested in co-operative development.

Canadian International Development Agency - Agence Canadiedne de development Inernational (CIDA - ACDI)

Link: Canadian International Development Agency – Agence Canadiedne de development Inernational (CIDA – ACDI)

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is Canada’s lead agency for development assistance. CIDA supports sustainable development, poverty reduction initiatives and the providision of humanitarian assistance in order to promote a more secure, equitable and prosperous world. CIDA’s priorities are poverty reduction, democratic governance, private sector development, health, basic education, equality between women and men, and environmental sustainability.

Canadian Social Economy Hub - Centre Canadien d'Economie Sociale

Link: Canadian Social Economy Hub – Centre Canadien d’Economie Sociale

The Canadian Social Economy Hub (CSEHub) acts as a facilitator promoting collaboration among six regional research centres across Canada, and creating opportunities and exchanges with international networks. CSEHub reaches out to practitioners, to researchers and to civil society, through the regional research centres and their community partners. It undertakes research as needed in order to understand and promote the Social Economy tradition within Canada and as a subject of academic enquiry within universities.


Link: Chintan

Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group is a non-governmental organization (NGO) registered under the Registration of Societies Act of 1860. Chintan addresses issues of sustainable consumption and environmental and social justice. Chintan envisions a world in which members from all sectors develop partnerships that ensure environmental and social justice through sustainable consumption, a dignified existence for the poor, and a toxic-free environment. Chintan’s mission is to facilitate the participation of citizens in the empowerment of their communities and to advocate for local and national policies that ensure social equity and environmental safeguarding.

Community-based Research Laboratory, Department of Geography, University of Victoria

Link: Community-based Research Laboratory, Department of Geography, University of Victoria

The Community-based Research Laboratory (CBRL) hosts a group of researchers that is committed to participatory research in Canada and abroad. Their vision is to link global issues with local actions for sustainable change by establishing partnerships with different stakeholders (university, government, civil society, NGOs, business sector) to improve the livelihoods of individuals and communities. Their mission is to conduct action oriented research with community in order to achieve progressive social and environmental sustainable change. Their key areas of focus include: responsible consumption, waste reduction and resource recovery; social inclusion and gender equality; co-management of resources; social/solidarity economy; civic engagement and governance; policy implications; rapid assessments of assets and barriers to sustainable community development.

8th Festival Lixo e Cidadania

Link: 8th Festival Lixo e Cidadania

This event helps to raise awareness of recycling intiatives in Brazil and includes contributions from some of Brazil’s most famous and popular musiciancs.

Office of Community-Based Research, University of Victoria

Link: Office of Community-Based Research, University of Victoria

The Office of Community-Based Research at UVic (OCBR-UVic) is a community–university partnership which supports community engagement and research to create vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities. The office is about democratizing knowledge, supporting community-driven research initiatives, and supporting students and faculty who are doing or who wish to do community-based research.

Practical Action

Link: Practical Action

Practical Action is an international nongovernmental organization that provides avenues for resource-poor communities to improve their livelihoods and raise themselves out of poverty. The organization is based on Dr E Fritz Schumacher’s idiom that “small is beautiful”, a philosophy that is applied through community-based projects, which seek sustainable and appropriate technological solutions to poverty reduction and environmental conservation. Practical Action helps people in marginalized areas to develop the skills and technologies that are appropriate to their needs and wants; technologies that will “help them build a better future”. The organization focuses on: reducing vulnerability; improving livelihoods through production, processing and marketing; increasing people’s access to basic services such as clean water; and, responding to new technologies. As part of programme activities, Practical Action focus on the management of urban waste.

United We Can

Link: United We Can

This recycling depot, located in Vancouver’s eastside of Downtown, contributes to a healthier community. The bottle depot has been open since 1995 and serves thousands of inner city residents, and the more recently introduced collection service has broadened their scope. The “crossroads and lanes community clean-up campaign” is working to clean up public urban space, while broader community initiatives help to link these activities to city residents and organisations with diverse interests.

Urban Binning Unit: Binners Cart Project

Link: Urban Binning Unit: Binners Cart Project

The UBU project aims to provide members of Vancouver’s binning community with a useful tool to assist in the collection and transport of refundable beverage containers. Binners who acquire a UBU cart are introduced to local businesses wishing to donate their refundable containers. The goal is to foster mutually beneficial and self-sustaining relationships that endeavour to improve both the environment and local communities as a whole.



Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) is a global research-policy network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy. It does so by highlighting the size, composition, characteristics, and contribution of the informal economy through improved statistics and research; by helping to strengthen member-based organizations informal workers; and by promoting policy dialogues and processes that include representatives of informal worker organizations. The common motivation for those who join the network is the relative lack of recognition, understanding, and support for the working poor in the informal economy, especially women, by policy makers, economic planners, and the international development community.

Coopérative de solidarité les Valoristes

Link: Coopérative de solidarité les Valoristes

Coopérative de solidarité les Valoristes, first established in 2004, is the first recycling cooperative in Montreal, Quebec. The creation of Coopérative de solidarité les Valoristes was inspired by Ken Lyotier and the experience of the United We Can bottle depot, a social enterprise located in Vancouver, BC ( Les Valoristes acts to facilitate as well as raise awareness of the social, environmental, and economic benefits of a cooperatively managed recycling centre in Montreal.

Practice in Participation

Link: Practice in Participation


Practice in Participation is a unique initiative where researchers and practitioners share knowledge and experiences from the field through an online portal. The portal is designed to generate, produce, and disseminate knowledge, while also connecting practitioners from around the world who are working on similar themes or in similar fields. The portal provides an opportunity for practitioners to reflect on their experiences and facilitates the sharing and documentation of local knowledge. Practice in Participation, hosted and managed by PRIA and the UNESCO chair, is rooted in the belief that with “collective learning, the empowerment of communities can be at a faster pace than ever”.


Landfill Harmonic

Link: Landfill Harmonic

Landfill Harmonic is a documentary film project about poverty, waste pollution, and hope in Cateura, Paraguay, one of the poorest slums in Latin America. Catueura, located just outside of Asuncion, Paraguay, is built on a landfill. Landfill Harmonic documents the resourceful ingenuity of those living in Catueura who create musical instruments from trash, such as flutes from water pipes and spoons, violins and cellos from oil drums, and guitars from packing crates. Landfill Harmonic documents the origin of the Recycled Orchestra “to demonstrate and inspire those all over the world that creative and simple solutions can bring powerful social transformation to the poorest communities”.

View a preview of the film here: Landfill Harmonic Trailer