- Title: VENEZUELA: VENEZUELANS TRADE GARBAGE FOR FOOD
- Date: 15th September 2003
- Summary: (L!2) CARACAS, VENEZUELA (RECENT) (REUTERS) LOCAL RESIDENTS ON LINE WITH THEIR TRASH TO EXCHANGE IT FOR FOOD MUNICIPAL WORKERS PUTTING SCRAP INTO TRUCK VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WITH TRASH (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LOCAL BOY CARLOS DE LEON, SAYING: "Some of us here don't have much food, and there isn't much money, that's why we're exchanging things, what's not needed now." PEOPLE CARRYING PLASTIC BOTTLES, JUNK VARIOUS OF WORKERS WEIGHING, CLASSIFYING AND PUTTING TRASH IN TRUCK (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE MANUEL MEDINA, SAYING: "This impacts the quality of life of the residents who live in populated sectors because we're making the exchange for food, basic food, the most necessary food, food of the best quality." PEOPLE ON LINE TO RECEIVE FOOD VARIOUS OF PEOPLE RECEIVING FOOD (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LOCAL GIRL YUDERSI MEJIAS SAYING: "I brought bottles, carton, plastic goods and tubes. (Journalist asks, 'How much did they give you?') "Three kilos of rice, one flour bread, one milk and a tuna." PEOPLE WITH TRASH PEOPLE CARRYING JUNK TO TRUCKS
- Embargoed: 30th September 2003 13:00
- Location: CARACAS, VENEZUELA
- Country: Venezuela
- Topics: Environment,Economy,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAX1KY4ZG3CNS8DVV9E5QFO128
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Venezuelans trade in garbage for food.
Hundreds of Venezuelans in Caracas lined up to exchange garbage for food, as a local recycling effort got underway.
Lugging bags of trash and discarded products, the crowd of mostly women and children stood in the sun, waiting for their offerings to be sorted, weighed and packed into trucks.
In return for their heavy cargo, they each took home a lighter, paper bag, containing basic groceries.
For little boys living in poverty like Carlos de Leon, it was an opportunity to contribute to his household.
"Some of us here don't have much food, and there isn't much money," said de Leon, "that's why we're exchanging things, what's not needed now."
But for the state, the ongoing program is not just a charity food giveaway; it's a means to clean up the dirty streets and clogged rivers around the capital city.
The program, inspired by a similar scheme in Curitiba Brazil, has as its goal to collect 1,200 tones of recyclable products, utilising 76 tones of food as incentive.
Municipal employee Manuel Medina said the idea has been received with enthusiasm, as poor mothers and their children eagerly gathered trash from riverbeds and alleys.
"This impacts the quality of life of the residents who live in populated sectors because we're making the exchange for food, basic food, the most necessary food, food of the best quality," said Medina.
Once collected, trash is sorted by categories, weighed and assigned points based on recyclable value. The highest number of points is assigned to batteries, followed by metals. The lowest number of points is assigned to plastics, glass and cardboard, while organic materials are not accepted.
Residents can "purchase" basic products, such as bread, milk, flour and tuna, with their points while the trash is sold to recycling plants, a move the government estimates will recoup as much as 30 percent of the programme's cost.
The government hopes to expand the programme to the country's 18 other cities.
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