Between 2000 and 2012, the global informal recycling sector came into focus as the base of the industrial value chain. Research, scholarship and activism in this sector has progressed from victimization of waste pickers to a global discourse focused on achieving effective recycling by recognizing, strengthening, and integrating informal valorizers into city waste systems. With few exceptions, existing reports and articles have investigated the activities, condition, and position of the informal enterprises and individuals, but have paid too little attention to the context: the waste management systems in the cities in which informal recyclers work and live. This research report seeks to correct that imbalance by analyzing and contextualizing informal valorization in low- and middle-income countries, and providing recommendations for implementation of inclusive recycling. The basis for the empirical research in this paper is the data set of 20 reference cities that was initiated for the 2010 UN-Habitat Third Global Report, Solid Waste Management in the World’s Cities, for which the author of this paper was principal editor.

Informal Sector Integration and High Performance Recycling: Evidence from 20 Cities

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Small World, Big Goals: Profile of a Home-Based Garment Worker in Delhi

From her Delhi home, Farida-ben embroiders garments for foreign retailers. Denied an education and other options, she has done this work since she was a girl. Today, her membership in the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and her involvement with an ethical, SEWA-based producer company have expanded her world – and given her insight into the inequity of the global value chain.

Small World, Big Goals: Profile of a Home-Based Garment Worker in Delhi

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Urban Employment in India: Recent Trends and Patterns.

This paper explores trends in urban employment in India, with a focus on urban informal employment
(defined as informal wage employment and self-employment in informal enterprises, as well as informal
wage employment for formal enterprises and households). It provides an analysis of the overall and
growing significance of four groups of urban informal workers at the bottom of the economic pyramid in
India: home-based workers, street vendors, domestic workers and waste pickers. Together, these groups
represent one third of urban employment in India today.

Urban Employment in India: Recent Trends and Patterns

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