Dona Graça e o seu carrinho/ Dona Graça and her cart

  • Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brasil, July 2010. Photo by J. Cavé.

Dona Graça, who has never worked in the formal sector, introduces herself as a recicladora (recycler). She takes pride in her white cart, which is a symbol for her independence. Dona Graça, who has been reclaiming waste in this neighbourhood for years, explains that “people throw some things away on purpose, especially for [her]”. While these reclaimed items are the most lucrative for her, she also has to pick up other, less interesting objects. But she is fine with that: her recovery work is made considerably easier by the fact that the residents have already sorted their own waste and placed packaging into a separate bag. This makes her work much faster and also much less off-putting, as the materials she handles are clean. Her work no longer feels clandestine: she has the tangible impression of engaging in a respectful interaction.

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Jérémie Cavé