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Friday, October 12, 2007

third world operation - first world objectives

Camillo coined the phrase "third world operation with first world objectives" and I love it for describing the recycling system in Rio. I don't know if other areas of Rio have this same process, but I know that this is the way recycling works in Ipanema and Leblon. These men with carts go into the commercial areas and pick up cardboard boxes, old or left over construction material, old refrigerators, defunct computers - nothing is too large or too small. for their wooden carts. When full, they pull the carts through traffic, down along the canal to the Lagoa. They wait in lines to offload onto a truck owned by a cooperative. The goodies from the cart is measured by weight or volume and they are paid on average of R$40.00 per load. (WE stopped and ask how it works) Then they turn around and go for more, they can often collect 2 or 3 loads per day. This is hard, hot, backbreaking work - but they own the cooperative. They don't beg or steal and they provide a much needed commercial and environment service.


  1. I was in Rio last year and saw how trash collection worked in the favelas. On days specified by the "controllers" of the favela, a trash pile is started in the middle of an intersection. Everyone takes out their trash in plastic bags and adds it to the pile... and then the pile disappears. Hopefully, someone there got to make money recycling, too. The US has a lot to learn - recycling is voluntary in my community, and we still have open burning outside the town limits. I really enjoy reading your posts about life in Rio.

    -Indiana reader

  2. Thanks for your comment - leave your name next time. This is the second time I have mentioned recycling in Rio. Also on Thursday nights the Residential building put out clear plastic bags with paper and plastic - this is mandatory.
    RioRose says California has required recycling but I know for sure that Texas's is voluntary.