Los Cartoneros (Cardboard Collectors)


In Buenos Aires there is a class of people called cartoneros—cardboard collectors. The economy is so devastating, that inorder to survive citizens are forced to resort to sorting through the day’s trash in search of recyclable material, to be exchanged for money. Cartoneros pick out paper, cardboard, metal, and glass to help support their family.

In 2006 there was a documentary created about Los Cartoneros. Cartoneros tracks the paper recycling process in Buenos Aires from the trash pickers who collect paper informally through middlemen in warehouses, to executives in large corporate mills. The process exploded into a multimillion dollar industry after Argentina’s latest economic collapse. The film is both a record of an economic and social crisis and an invitation to audiences to rethink the value of trash.

Not only do these recyclable materials serve as monetary value, but the materials have also been used to create art. The picture above is an example of this art that has been created by the materials. I have yet to see the film, but I know it can be found on netflix.It’s inspiring to see how citizens can create something beautiful, even during hard times using found objects.

Check out the website for more information: http://www.cartonerosdoc.com/

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