In parallel with the ISWA 2015 Congress in Antwerp a meeting of European Informal Recyclers was organized by Springloop Cooperative U.A., NWMC and DTI. In the meeting participated 25 representatives of NGOs, informal recyclers and waste collectors and consultancy companies.
EXPRA participated in the meeting where were discussed the relations between the waste collectors/recyclers, local authorities, WMC and Producer Responsibility Organisations. Related social issues were also presented by the representative of Italian informal waste collectors. It is still not fully clear, especially for the informal waste collectors what is legal and what is illegal. Representatives of the French association of waste pickers, Ameloir, the only member from Europe of the Global Alliance of Waste pickers, presented the problems their members have with local authorities and the police. They believe that the authorities should offer an alternative for earning of their living as well as affordable training in other skills.

The chair of EXPRA EPR Implementation Working group Mr. Alphan Eröztürk presented the situation in Turkey, concerning the development of relevant waste management legislation (since 1991) as well as the changes in line with EU legislation introduced in 2005 and 2007. Pursuant to these changes all informal waste collectors should be licensed (not as individuals but as companies) in order to continue to work legally. He informed the participants that it is estimated that in Turkey operate 70-75 000 waste collectors (30 000 in Istanbul) and noted that efforts should be made to integrate them in the formal system. He underlined that solutions should be discussed with and not for them. CEVKO is working in this direction with the help of NGOs and has organized several meetings with informal waste collectors, local authorities and NGOs.

During the meeting different project under implementation were presented, including a comprehensive waste monitoring and benchmarking system that is currently being tested in Colombia.

As the issues related to informal waste collectors are becoming more important, the topic will be a part of the next ISWA Congress 2016 in Novi Sad, where a full day meeting and discussion will be organized.