1 In this report, the terms ‘informal waste sector’ and ‘waste pickers’ refer to a group of workers in the informal sector who collect, sort, aggregate and valorize recyclables from post-consumer waste streams. Historically, various names have been used interchangeably for this group, including those used here as well as ‘workers under informal and cooperative settings’ (per the UN Environmental Assembly plastics treaty mandate – see UN Doc UNEP EA.5/Res.14)
2The project collaborators recognize that these principles are the result of a process focused on plastics packaging recycling value chains, but they are likely to be applicable to other recyclable materials as well.
3 The UNGPs apply to all ‘internationally recognized human rights’ which means those in the International Bill of Human Rights (ie, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two International Covenants that codify it), as well as the principles concerning fundamental rights in the eight ILO core conventions as set out in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work.
4This list is intended as illustrative and not as a list of specific instances of harm; further assessment would be needed to determine the situation in specific companies’ value chains.
5A living income is the corollary to a living wage for self-employed workers. Waste pickers are sometimes organized into cooperatives or associations, but they are not formal employees.
6These are generally informed by current market prices and the quality of the material.