Jutta Gutberlet | Participatory Waste Management

Dr Jutta Gutberlet is a tenured Associate Professor in Geography at the University of Victoria (UVic), Canada. Since 2001 she works in the Department of Geography at UVic. In 2005 she created the Community-Based Research Laboratory (CBRL), of which she is currently the coordinator.
Dr Gutberlet has made significant contributions to the understanding of the social facets in informal and cooperative recycling in the global south. Her approach to scholarship is cross-disciplinary, participatory, action oriented, and grounded in the critical tradition of political ecology.
Between 2005 and 2012 she was the director of the Participatory Sustainable Waste Management project, a university - community partnership program, to develop cooperative recycling coproduction in solid waste management in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, Brazil.
Her current research examines case studies on informal and formal waste management arrangements and the underlying power relations in different cities in the global south. She is involved in several collaborative cutting edge reflections with international scholars, taking a systems approach and focusing on circular economy, de-growth, participation and deliberation.

(Part I and II)

The video reveals the socio-economic and environmental conditions, struggles and opportunities of informal and organized resource recovery. Until 2012 over 1800 Catadores worked day and night at the landfill of Gramacho and in neighboring recycling cooperatives, collecting recyclable materials from the dump.
The video begins by taking the viewer through a squatter settlement beside the landfill, where many of the recyclers and their families live.
The film illustrates the national recyclers’ movement, the Movimento Nacional dos Catadores de Materiais Reciclaveis, and showcases successful experiences from Greater Metropolitan São Paulo and some of the hurdles to still overcome.
Catadores are still a very stigmatized and marginalized segment of society in many countries, despite the important work they perform by recovering resources.


Video: Beyond Gramacho (Part I and II)


The work in recycling cooperatives

Today one of the biggest challenges in our cities is the large generation of solid waste. Landfilling or incinerating these materials means wasting resources besides causing environmental degradation and exhausting natural resources, ultimately also causing climate change.
The documentary shows how recycling cooperatives operate in the metropolitan region of São Paulo, Brazil, with collecting, separating and selling recyclable waste. Interviews with some women recyclers illuminate livelihood aspects and facets of the work of these people, humanizing the activity and identifying some of the difficulties encountered by the recyclers.
Continuous training and specific skill building under the Participatory Sustainable Waste Management project has contributed to strengthening these organized groups and to improve their recognition by the local government.
This video is an excellent tool for raising the awareness towards selective waste collection, solidarity economy, responsible consumption, and the concept of not wasting resources.
Produced by André Carrieri and Dr Jutta Gutberlet, the video describes the work of organized recyclers (catadores) pervading many social, economic, political and environmental issues.


Video: Catadoras and Catadores