It’s a Messy Job, And They Do It: South Africa’s ‘Reclaimers’ Recycle Bulk of Nation’s Waste

South Africa has a recycling rate of just under 60 percent, according to industry studies — a statistic that puts it on par with some European nations. But here, recycling is done by an informal network called “reclaimers” — thousands of men and women who sift through trash to identify recyclables to sell. This vast, high-labor system fits with the nation’s high unemployment rate, and is, experts argue, a different model of innovation. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
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