Privileged Tactics II - Zaballeen Model


Zaballeen Model
Personal Model

70,000 Zaballeen (“people that collect rubbish”) live in Cairo. They survive by collecting and recycling the city’s garbage in family-run cottage industries. They are a major contributor in processing solid-waste in this rapidly expanding city of 17-20 million people. More than 90% of all the waste they collect is recycled. (To compare, in London, only 40% of the rubbish collected for recycling is actually recycled.)

But despite international recognition for their low-impact and low-energy techniques, their livelihood is threatened by both international garbage contractors and government plans to move the Zaballeen out of the city.


Street in Cairo

Plastic in Moqattam

Typical Zaballeen collection truck in Moqattam

Workers cut up plastic bottles, wash them, dry them on the roof and package for sale

Packing dried plastic

They produce compost from the organic waste

And make pretty weavings from rag-trade waste