Volume 5, Number 1


Women and waste recycling in Sedibeng District municipality in South Africa
Lukamba, M.T.

There are many roleplayers working on the issue of solid waste management in this country. Every household in our society contributes to an amount of waste every single day. In many developing countries, women are involved in the collection of waste materials. For some of them, this has become a source of income to support their families. The waste recycling industry around the globe is increasing every year. Local governments should try to accommodate these women by facilitating their participation and integration into the waste recovery sector.

The findings of the study in the Sedibeng District Municipality (SDM) show that women are able to make a positive impact on their communities by undertaking this type of work. Most of the women interviewed are the breadwinners in their households. It has been shown that working in the recycling sector is by no means gender specific; recycling waste can be just as effectively done by women as by men and can certainly have a positive impact in our society as whole. 

It is important for local governments in the SDM and elsewhere in the country to evaluate the positive role the waste pickers play. These women are independent entrepreneurs in that they generate a weekly income by recycling materials collected on the landfill sites. There is a need for local governments countrywide to improve the recognition of waste pickers and assist them where possible.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; women; waste; policy; Sedibeng District Municipality.