The Recycler’s base dynamics in Nicaragua: A Way to Social Inclusion and a fair Public Policy formulation. An outstanding debt with Human Development.

Rizo, Marta Patricia; Murillo Acuña, Kathy Elizabeth; Ruiz Amaya, Sergio José; Ortega Herrera, Roberto Gastón; Parra, Federico (2014). 'The Recycler's base dynamics in Nicaragua: A Way to Social Inclusion and a fair Public Policy formulation. An outstanding debt with Human Development.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

The recycling activity is part of the 'informal economy' (Chen, 2012) '…it refers to all units, activities and new defined workers, as well its productions' which is considered as a generator of jobs, income and a worthy work that contributes to the livelihoods of poor people.

In developing countries such as Nicaragua, the recyclers are one of the disadvantaged and vulnerable social groups that demand right's restitution, better opportunities and active participation on discussion spaces to improve their wellbeing. Recyclers are men and women who subsist by fulfilling an important social and environmental function, but they are still alienated and excluded.

This study is aimed to promote right's restitution through the creation of a fair public policy, which would generate a positive impact on the current conditions of the recycler's base[1] families; but also to identify the contributions provided of the recycling chain, in order to recognize needs and opportunities to create a stable work and reduce their poverty. Therefore, the study will provide laws and public policy elements for the recycler's network of Nicaragua 'REDNICA'; an organization that brings them together to defend their rights, but it also designs programs and projects that strengthen the social and productive group of interest.


There are three theoretical background of the proposal:

  • First, a new model of inclusive recycling, which characterizes the value chain (by giving advantage to recyclable materials and organic waste) linked to central governments as companions or promoters of the recycling formalization process of these social groups.
  • Second, the theoretical framework that provides the 'informal economy' would be useful for policies formulation. Most of the labor force that contributes significantly to the world economy, such as the recyclers sector is also devoid of protection and regulation by the State. Therefore, this investigation would enrich the informal economy theory by the developed work of the recyclers.
  •  Third, it will be use a multidimensional poverty approach based on Alkire and Foster's work (2008), with a social target, because there are some limitations with one-dimensional measurements as an income or uptake. Migration as a multidimensional poverty analysis, allows the appreciation of aspects and dimensions that don't get to appreciate other poverty measures, especially if it is about a vulnerable group which rights needs to be restituted.

The study's methodology is mixed, predominantly quantitative, with a descriptive scope and cross section. The sample is not probabilistic. It has a national character and it was selected 35 heads of family's recyclers by landfill[2] site of 17 state capitals. For its analysis, the information is presented as case studies by geographical states and a general analysis at national level. The data collection methods were the survey implementation, observation in landfills and homes.

As a result of the study is aimed:

  • Served as a key input for the formulation of a participatory and inclusive public policy, ensuring the involvement of the State at a national level and local municipalities; which is the key for the integration and the achievement of Inclusion. In addition to improve the quality and wellbeing of the workers from this social group, it will be advanced in the care and sustainability of the environment.
  • Recognized and characterized the work from the recyclers of base as an activity, which will enable the Inclusion's proposal into the system of solid wastes management in Nicaragua.
  • Identificated the conditions in which are the recycler and his family' but also the contributions realized by the recyclers of Nicaragua in the recycling chain; inputs to REDNICA for the construction of a national program which includes a gender perspective.
  • Built a base line for the subsequent monitoring and tracking in the exercise of public policy, based on a multidimensional indicator for measuring poverty, which would allows to establish the efficiency levels which this social group and also that restores their rights.

[1] It is also called a primary recycler. It is an informal worker who collects, select, retrieve, transform, commercialize and reuse solid waste. Subsist from this activity and generates some incomes according to the amount of sold material that collects. They live in extreme poverty conditions (less than $1 per day). It is consider on the first link of material recovery and commercialization chain and without these people, it won't be possible to recycle. They contribute to an environmental labor of a territory.

[2]Landfill or Dump with no infrastructure where are deposited all the waste that are collected in a geographical area. The accumulation of garbage and the aerobic decomposition process that occurs is a high environmental risk and source of diseases into people who work and lives near to the landfill area.

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