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Thursday, 11 October 2012 16:19

InteRa: A new tool for Informal Sector

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A new analytical framework and tool (‘InteRa’) for integrating the informal recycling sector in waste and resource management systems in developing countries has been recently published by Costas A Velis, David C Wilson, Ondina Rocca, Stephen R Smith, Antonis Mavropoulos, and Chris R Cheeseman.

The analytical framework has been published in Waste Management & Research (September 2012; vol. 30, 9 suppl: pp. 43-66) and due to its relevance to Informal Recyclers is available for free click here

According the paper, in low- and middle-income developing countries, the informal (collection and) recycling sector (here abbreviated IRS) is an important, but often unrecognized, part of a city’s solid waste and resources management system. Recent evidence shows recycling rates of 20–30% achieved by IRS systems, reducing collection and disposal costs. They play a vital role in the value chain by reprocessing waste into secondary raw materials, providing a livelihood to around 0.5% of urban populations. However, persisting factual and perceived problems are associated with IRS (waste-picking): occupational and public health and safety (H&S), child labor, uncontrolled pollution, untaxed activities, crime and political collusion. Increasingly, incorporating IRS as a legitimate stakeholder and functional part of solid waste management (SWM) is attempted, further building recycling rates in an affordable way while also addressing the negatives. Based on a literature review and a practitioner’s workshop, here we develop a systematic framework—or typology—for classifying and analyzing possible interventions to promote the integration of IRS in a city’s SWM system. Three primary interfaces are identified: between the IRS and the SWM system, the materials and value chain, and society as a whole; underlain by a fourth, which is focused on organization and empowerment. To maximize the potential for success, IRS integration/inclusion/formalization initiatives should consider all four categories in a balanced way and pay increased attention to their interdependencies, which are central to success, including specific actions, such as the IRS having access to source separated waste. A novel rapid evaluation and visualization tool is presented—integration radar (diagram) or InterRa—aimed at illustrating the degree to which a planned or existing intervention considers each of the four categories. The tool is further demonstrated by application to 10 cases around the world, including a step-by-step guide.

Read 7857 times Last modified on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 11:37
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