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Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041149

Formalization of Informal Waste Pickers’ Cooperatives in Blantyre, Malawi: A Feasibility Assessment

1
Department of Physics and Biochemical Sciences, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, Private Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi
2
Department of Environmental Health, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, Private Bag 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi
3
Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Ueberlandstrasse 133, Duebendorf 8600, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 March 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 11 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Municipal Solid Waste Management)
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Abstract

Poor road networks, inadequate financial resources and low levels of political will mean that many developing countries, especially their unplanned settlements, struggle with solid waste management. Recently, Informal Waste Pickers (IWPs) have been incorporated into waste management cooperatives by formalizing their operations as a strategy to improve the quality and efficiency of waste management in such areas. This study was conducted in Zingwangwa, an unplanned settlement in Blantyre, Malawi, to understand whether the formalization of IWPs into cooperatives could be effective and/or accepted as a way of managing Municipal Solid Waste in unplanned urban settlements in Malawi. Thirty-four IWPs in Zingwangwa were identified and interviewed using a structured questionnaire; personnel from the Blantyre City Council and middlemen were interviewed as key informants. We determined that IWPs experience challenges in all dimensions of their lives: low material prices with exploitative price fluctuations, negative public perception and a lack of transportation are a few of their struggles. Furthermore, a fear of decreased income, conflicts during proceeds sharing, free riding behaviors and an attachment to their independence mean that IWPs are unlikely to form a cooperative on their own though some would be willing to join if a third party initiated the formalization process. View Full-Text
Keywords: solid waste; recycling; Africa; informal economy; poverty; urbanization; cooperatives solid waste; recycling; Africa; informal economy; poverty; urbanization; cooperatives
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kasinja, C.; Tilley, E. Formalization of Informal Waste Pickers’ Cooperatives in Blantyre, Malawi: A Feasibility Assessment. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1149.

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