The Environmental Affairs department has hosted an integration Workshop for Waste Pickers in Pretoria today.
JOHANNESBURG - Waste pickers save municipalities in South Arica up to R750-million in landfill airspace each year, according to the Environmental Affairs Department.
The department is working on guidelines to integrate them into the formal waste management sector.
Waste pickers have been described as the backbone of the recycling industry in South Africa, collecting up to 90 percent of post-consumer packaging and paper that get recycled.
They are also playing a crucial role in slowing down the ever-shrinking landfill space.
By giving them official status, waste pickers could get more access to opportunities and increased resources and the government is also hoping to address health and safety issues faced by these workers every day.
The Environmental Affairs Department will soon release the guidelines.
But it will be up to municipalities to implement these based on their own models.