Cooperatives, a solution for integrating waste pickers in Turkish waste management chain

On December 20-21 Turkish waste pickers and central and local government officials had the opportunity to discuss how to better streamline and modernize the solid waste management business. They attended the workshop on “Understanding the Role of Waste Pickers and their Cooperatives in Waste Management and Recycling”, organized by the International labour Organisation (ILO) and the Ministry of Customs and Trade in Ankara.

11 January 2017

The idea of collective entrepreneurship, such as cooperatives, emerged as a concrete solution for integrating waste pickers into the Turkish modern waste management chain, as demonstrated by international experiences from Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Italy, among others.

A repeated theme in the workshop was that solid waste management legislation must include provisions on waste pickers’ picking and sorting cooperatives. Education on the cooperative business model is needed for waste pickers’ organizations to begin to effectively organize. “Our Directorate is ready to initiate a cooperative education programme” said Arif Sami Seymenoğlu from the General Directorate of Cooperatives. The municipalities emphasised their readiness to work with cooperatives of waste pickers, as long as the upcoming solid waste management regulation allows it.

“This meeting was a useful initial step in what should be an ongoing multi-stakeholder dialogue on how to secure a sustainable future for waste pickers,” said Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Turkey.

The workshop included a session on organizing waste pickers in Turkey with participants from the Turkish Waste Pickers Association, The Recycling Workers Association and the Ak Dunya Recycling Cooperative.

Articles related:

The potential of cooperatives for waste pickers in Turkey by Betsy Dribben here:

Cooperatives are key to the transition from the informal to the formal economy by CICOPA

International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives

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E-mail: cicopa[at]

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