17 Colo. J. Int'l Envtl. L. & Pol'y 165 (2005-2006)
Feminizing Waste: Waste-Picking as an Empowerment Opportunity for Women and Children in Impoverished Communities

handle is hein.journals/colenvlp17 and id is 171 raw text is: Feminizing Waste: Waste-Picking
as an Empowerment Opportunity
for Women and Children in
Impoverished Communities
Catherine A. Madsen*
ABSTRACT
The crisis of excessive waste in developing countries, coupled with
a high rate of poverty, has created an abundant labor force of waste-
pickers at dumpsites in urban areas. Although the increasing number of
waste-pickers is considered a sign of growing poverty and a problem to
be eliminated, an examination of the economic and environmental
contributions of waste-pickers has received scant attention. In addition,
an exploration of strategies to improve the livelihoods of waste-pickers
that takes advantage of their expertise and experience in recycling and
environmental sustainability is also lacking. Instead, industrialized
models of waste management strategies have been proposed to address
the waste crisis. These models are inappropriate because they fail to
account for current economic, social, and political conditions of the
* Catherine A. Madsen is a Class of 2006 candidate for the Juris Doctor degree at
the University of Colorado School of Law. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the
University of Massachusetts Lowell and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Lesley
University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to the editors of the Colorado
Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, the author would like to thank
Judith Madsen, Jon Madsen, and Matthew Tracy for their continued support and
encouragement throughout the writing of this paper and her legal education. The author
also wants to thank Kiya Marie Tracy for continually reminding her that enchantment is
most often found in the ordinary and overlooked. This paper was written in memory of
the author's father and uncle, David W. Madsen and Philip Madsen, two exceptional and
inspirational men who taught her to question and challenge the status quo. Their guidance
is very much missed.

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