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Case Code: CLBE002
Case Length: 3 pages 
Period: -  
Pub Date: 2008
Teaching Note: Not Available
Subject : Business Ethics
Organization :--
Industry : --
Countries : --

Waste Recycling and The Catadores of Brazil*



With an increase in the awareness about the environment, the Brazilian government in association with several private organizations and NGOs organized the 'catadores' (human scavengers who acted as informal recyclers) into cooperatives to boost the nation's waste recycling rates. Experts viewed these initiatives as a potential form of sustainable development in which the catadores are able to generate a sustainable income and have improved self-perception while the country benefits from decreased costs associated with recycling.
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  • Waste management.
  • Sustainable development.
  • Public policy.
In 2007, on the occasion of Christmas, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), the President of Brazil, visited an association of 'catadores'. 'Catadore' is Portuguese for 'human scavenger' or 'rubbish collector'. The catadores, mostly seen in the larger cities of Brazil, especially in Brazil’s commercial capital Sao Paulo, picked up metal scraps, paper, plastic bags, etc., for recycling...
Questions for Discussion:
1. Critically analyze the waste recycle management practices in Brazil and the role of the Catadores in this endeavor. What are the potential benefits.

2. Do you agree that such informal recycling has the potential to be a form of sustainable development? Can this model be replicated by other developing nations that do not have sophisticated waste management systems?


Sustainable management, sustainable development, Waste recycle management, catadores, greenhouse gas, Canadian International Development Agency, Brazil, Sao Paulo

* This caselet is intended for use only in class discussions.
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