Phnom Penh’s informal recyclers

October 20, 2011
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Sleeping in a cart used for collecting recyclables (probably not just a nap; many collectors do most of their work at night.)

Sleeping in a cart used for collecting recyclables (probably not just a nap; many collectors do most of their work at night.)

Some of Phnom Penh’s poorest residents make a living pushing their carts around the city’s streets, gathering soda cans, plastic bottles, and anything else they can sell for recycling. This short video shows some of these hard-working people going about their daily business.

2 Responses to Phnom Penh’s informal recyclers

  1. Karla C on July 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Can anyone become a recycler? Or are they under leadership of some sort? It looks like a tough job… having to walk everywhere to find the right things to make money. I wonder what the average income is for a recycler.

  2. Eric Greenlaw on July 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I have so much respect for people like these. They exhaust themselves every day just so they can make something of a living for their family, I know I personally would not be able to do something like that and it makes me realize just how fortunate I am. In addition, they do the city a much needed service by helping to clean it. I’ve always wondered if there was some sort of system, or if people just walk around randomly. I’m also curious if the government regulates it at all. I wonder if they have any kind of protection for themselves because it would seem to me to be an pretty dangerous job, and like they would be easy targets for robbers. Does anyone know if certain recyclers look for a certain type of product? Or do they just pick up anything they can find?

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