Low- and middle-income countries are lagging in research related to waste management initiatives and practices involving the informal sector and the problems faced by this population. Many case studies focus on waste management, but few deal with waste pickers’ role and their formalisation process. In particular, there is a need to document the opportunities and barriers to transition for this population
and the appropriate pathway from informal to formal work in the Latin American context. The objective of this article is to report the findings of an analysis of this transition in Colombia, where the institutional context explicitly promotes a formalisation pathway for waste picker organisations within the public waste management service in the waste picking activity. This analysis mixes quantitative and qualitative methods. The study draws on information from two main sources. First, primary data from a survey of individual waste pickers and waste picker organisations at the national level was considered. The second source was information analysis from workshops with waste picker leaders. The research’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations compile barriers and opportunities for waste pickers, their
organisations, and their formalisation. It is hoped that the findings will be used to guide similar studies in other developing countries with similar conditions for waste pickers.


  • Alejandra Gómez Maldonado
  • Laura Catalina Ospina Espitia
  • Mayra Alejandra Rodriguez
  • Paul Andrés Rodríguez Lesmes

Palabras clave:

  • Inclusive recycling
  • Informal sector
  • Waste management
  • Waste picker


  • Proyecto 1
  • Documentos de trabajo