Solid waste is a major urban challenge worldwide and decisions over which technologies
or methods to apply can have benefi cial or detrimental long-term consequences.
Inappropriate management of solid waste can lead to damaging environmental impacts,
particularly in the megacities of the Global South.
Urban Recycling Cooperatives explores the multiple narratives and interdisciplinary nature of
waste studies, drawing attention to the pressing social, economic and environmental challenges
related to waste management. The book asks questions such as: how do we defi ne waste and
our relation to it; who is involved in dealing with waste; and what power interactions become
manifest over issues of accessing and managing waste? In recent years informal cooperatives
have emerged, devoted to recycling household and business waste before reclassifying it and
redirecting it to the authorities. Hence, these workers are able to reclaim signifi cant amounts
of natural resources and thus contribute to the saving of resources and lessened waste
With particular reference to the Brazilian megalopolis of São Paulo, this book describes
this paradigm shift in the general understanding of waste as unwanted discard towards the
recognition of waste as a resource that must be recovered for reuse or recycling. It would
be of interest to students and policy makers working in international development and