Employer-employee and buyer-seller relationships among waste pickers at final disposal site in informal recycling: The case of Bantar Gebang in Indonesia

Shunsuke Sasaki, Tetsuya Araki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper presents an informal recycling system managed by scavengers in Bantar Gebang final disposal site for municipal solid waste generated in Jakarta. Data were obtained through daily conversations with scavengers who deal with recyclables in the site. Seven processing steps of informal recycling were observed at the site. Scavengers at the site were referred to as their managerial names in their community, and then at least 8 types of recycling actors were identified: 1) big boss, 2) small boss, 3) big middleman, 4) small middleman, 5) live-in waste picker, 6) live-out waste picker, 7) independent waste picker, and 8) daily worker. Live-in and live-out waste pickers were continuously employed by their bosses, while independent waste pickers and daily workers depended on temporary employer-employee relationships. The positions of the recycling actors were not always fixed and there were many paths of career tracks and setbacks mainly due to individual economic status. All big bosses and big middlemen have built direct connections with recycling factories, and the community of scavengers in the site recognized them as big bosses and big middlemen due to the connections. A big boss of waste pickers, mainly dealing with plastic recyclables, was intensively investigated to clarify the buyer-seller relationship between the boss and other recycling actors. Common ground between formal and informal sectors should be built for making new waste management policies in the way that the existing informal recycling system is successfully integrated into the formal recycling system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalHabitat International
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct

Keywords

  • Final disposal site
  • Indonesia
  • Informal recycling
  • Recycling actor
  • Scavenger
  • Waste picker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies

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