Zabaleen Waste Recycling, 1983–2013
In Cairo, Egypt, traditional waste collectors (Zabaleen in Arabic) go door-to-door collecting three tons of household waste a day. As the city grows and privatizes garbage disposal, the Zabaleen face possible forced resettlement. To educate a more competitive generation of waste recyclers, CID Consulting developed partnerships with the Zabaleen and community-based organizations to meet the demand for recycled materials. The Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE) runs “Learn and Earn” recycling in Mokattam, teaching women and girls skills for recovery and recycling, such as turning office paper into handmade craft paper and rags into bags and quilts. The Spirit of Youth group runs a buy-back center and school for boys, established to recover empty Proctor & Gamble shampoo bottles that are fraudulently refilled and resold; enrolled Zabaleen students are paid for each recovered container and are schooled in reading, writing, math, art, drama, and computing skills.
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