PHOTO CREDITS TO THEIR RESPECTED OWNERS
The garbage collectors in Sao Paulo can be seen wheeling around works of art.
Mundano, a 28-year-old Brazilian street artist, began the movement known as Pimp My Carroca in 2012 in which he and other artists repair and customize trash carts with eye-catching colours, designs and phrases.
According to NPR, the carts feature “colourful cartoon faces — with bulging eyes, flared nostrils and thick lips — peer from the sides of the metal and wooden carts.” With messages like: “My cart doesn’t pollute,” and “If corrupted politicians were recyclable, they would be worth less than cardboard,” written in Portuguese.
Having made over 200 carts since he first began in 2007, it is Mundano’s way of thanking roughly over a million of Brazil’s waste scavengers for recycling the country’s garbage.
CEMPRE, the Brazilian recycling organization, reports that Brazil generates more than 200,000 tons of trash each day, with about two-thirds getting dumped into open landfills and only about a third getting recycled.
Hauling more then 50,000 tons of recyclables each day, the Catadores –as they are called in Brazil- or waste scavengers, collect and sell materials that others throw away including cardboard and scrap metal.
But like most of the world, waste scavengers are looked down upon in Brazil. “People don’t see them, almost as if they are invisible,” Mundano told NPR. “[The communities] don’t look at these people; they don’t say ‘good morning’ or ‘thank you.'”
Mundano hopes that with the help of his colourful carts, the Catadores will catch eyes and bring to light the work they do everyday.