Economic status of waste pickers in Bantar Gebang compared to other workers in Indonesia

Shunsuke Sasaki*, Yunhee Choi, Kohei Watanabe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study reviews the current income level of waste pickers to provide insights that will help determine adequate wage levels for recyclers in a potential integrated waste management system. The Bantar Gebang landfill of Bekasi City in West Java (a province of Indonesia) has been selected as the survey site. The landfill is operated not unlike an open dumpsite due to poor management, and informal waste pickers actively collect waste on the site. Therefore, this case is an excellent starting point from which to explore the income levels of waste pickers. The analysis is based on qualitative data obtained from an 890-day field survey and quantitative data from structured interviews with 156 residents from 78 households between February 2010 and March 2020. The results show that the average monthly household income of waste pickers was IDR 2,401,697.7 (US$ 197.0). The waste pickers’ income per person (IDR 1,200,848.9) was below that of all industries and occupations in the formal and informal sectors. Even the income per person of independent waste pickers (IDR 1,800,023.8), who had the highest average income, was below the legal minimum wage (IDR 2,250,000). When there was more than one worker in the household, the income per capita was lower than the legal minimum wage; however, when there was only one worker in the household (where the household income corresponds to the individual income), the income per capita was at the same level as the legal minimum wage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102501
JournalHabitat International
Volume119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan

Keywords

  • Average household income
  • Dump site
  • Integrated waste management
  • Waste pickers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies

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