How Waste Reclaimers Recycle 80 to 90% of South Africa's Waste | Dr. Melanie Samson

Season 1 | Episode 8
36m | Dec 17, 2021

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Melanie Samson, about the important role that waste reclaimers play in our cities, particularly in Johannesburg. Melanie works closely with the African Reclaimers Organization (ARO), a non-profit group that is fighting to get waste reclaimers the rights and recognition they deserve for their hard work and ensuring that their knowledge and perspectives are incorporated in the broader waste management system. 

In this episode, you'll learn about:

  • why in some cities there can be no recycling without waste reclaimers,
  • the precarious conditions and inequality waste reclaimers face when doing their work,
  • the great strides that the African Reclaimers Organization (ARO) has made to get reclaimers the recognition they deserve,
  • why reclaimers are much more effective and efficient at collecting waste than private companies,
  • the steps people can take to support waste reclaimers work in their community,
  • and much more!

Guest: Dr. Melanie Samson 

This episode is co-sponsored by the University of Toronto School of Cities and the Department of Geography and Planning. “The School of Cities convenes urban-focused researchers, educators, students, practitioners and the general public to explore and address complex urban challenges, with the aim of making cities and urban regions more sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and just.” To learn more about their work visit

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Instagram & Twitter: @urbanlimitrophe 

Podcast concept, development, and design by Alexandra Lambropoulos. 

Music by Imany Lambropoulos

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