Teodósio, Armindo, Gonçalves-Dias, Sylmara Francelino Lopes, Santos, M.C.L. and Mswaka, Walter (2015) From Outlaw to Regular Worker: trajectories, challenges and achievements of recyclers running social businesses in Brazil. In: 5th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise, 30th June - 3rd July 2015, Helsinki, Finland. (Unpublished)

Brazilian cities, like many other major cities in the world faces major problems in addressing nvironmental challenges associated with waste or garbage management. Recycling of waste has emerged as a key source of employment in poor communities across the country. This has resulted in a number of interventions both from the government and private sector to provided relevant regulatory mechanisms and technical support respectively.
This study seeks to explore and address two key issues; firstly the current state of social enterprises involved in recycling in Belo Horizonte. Secondly, the nature of regulatory and support mechanisms. Given the impact that recycling has had on poor communities, Brazil offers an excellent opportunity to gain insight into how poor people are taking charge of their lives through enterprising activities. The field work took place in Belo Horizonte, a city which has experienced a dramatic growth in social enterprises involved in recycling, over the past 10 years.

The study analyses the integration of collectors in the dynamics of governance of solid waste management in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte. Public policies related to solid waste management have undergone important transformations in contemporary Brazilian reality, ranging from the adoption and implementation of a new regulation on waste disposal also going through a new legal framework regulating the profession of recycling, until you get to the actions of environmental movements and non-governmental organizations in order to focus on the dynamics of sustainability in cities.

The case chosen for analysis, Belo Horizonte, stands out for its significant presence and role of civil society actors, the state and the market in policies and solid waste management programs in operation and being implemented in urban space.

In the Belo Horizonte are present some of the oldest recyclers associations operating in the country, whose emblematic case is the Association of Paper Collectors, Cardboard and Reusable Materials (ASMARE), which reached international recognition as an important experience in the field of management solid waste and expansion of rights of people in social vulnerability. These associations also play a central role in the construction of collective action as the Recycling Cooperatives of Collectors through Solidarity Economy Network (Cata Unidos Network), the National Movement of Collectors and Recyclers (MNCR) and even the National Movement of Homeless People.
On the other hand, public policies aimed at solid waste management have undergone significant transformations as new parties come to power at the local government level, as well as state and federal. While the links between representation of collectors and recyclers and municipal government organizations seem to have had a reflux in Belo Horizonte, under the government of Minas Gerais new solid waste management policies are being implemented, with major impacts on urban governance. The State of Minas Gerais created a Public-Private Partnership program for solid waste management in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, which provides for the granting of the "recycling bag" and training activities for strengthening of associations of collectors.

The presence of market actors in the governance of solid waste management is also another very important aspect in the case of Belo Horizonte, not only the centrality placed on them in the operation of public-private partnerships, but also because they have increased their participation in the activities of collection and disposal of garbage in Belo Horizonte significantly in recent years.

All this reality is marked by advances and threats, achievements and pitfalls to guarantee dynamics of urban sustainability able to simultaneously generate preservation of natural resources, reduction of environmental impacts, social and economic inclusion of poor people and expansion of democratic governance of cities. Therefore, it is more than urgent and necessary to analyze the condition of collectors and recyclers and their rights to representation of movements in urban governance, in order to better understand the challenges faced by the recycling social enterprises. The analysis of the experience of Belo Horizonte case can serve not only to generate new areas of debate and academic discussion of solid waste management and build of social enterprises by people in vulnerability, as well as provide more support for the important debates between social actors involved in the configuration of dynamics of urban governance.

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