Affected by the COVID-19 epidemic, unemployment in South Africa has risen, and some people have lost their sources of work and livelihood. Therefore, some people began to pick up waste and send them to recycling companies in exchange for income.
Due to the soaring unemployment rate in South Africa due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it has reached 30.8%. Many unemployed South Africans rely on picking up paper shells, beverage bottles, etc. and sending them to recycling companies in exchange for income. The head of a recycling company said that during the epidemic, not only did its waste recycling double compared with previous years, but the number of waste pickers also increased sharply, even including many elderly people.
Juliancia, head of a recycling company: Nowadays, many 60-year-old or even 72-year-old people come to us to buy bread.
Local people Claudine: Everything has changed since the epidemic began. Now I start to recycle plastics, aluminum cans and other things in exchange for income to provide them to my children at my sister’s house. It’s hard to find work now because of the pandemic, and lots of people are involved (picking up waste). Because they can get income, people will not steal and rob.