In Delhi, India, hundreds of thousands of people make a living by sorting through trash and selling recyclables for reuse. Don't Waste People explores the lives and livelihoods of these 'waste pickers' as they attempt to organize and advocate for basic human rights.
For years, waste pickers have endured harassment and oppression. They have watched their homes, made from salvaged recyclables, burn in fires of unknown origin. They have been forced to hand over their meager earnings to police and city workers who ask for bribes in return for access to municipally owned waste.
Now, private companies are asking for exclusive rights to recyclable waste, and the waste pickers fear that they will lose their livelihoods too. They are taking a stand and asking the government to recognize them as workers. The waste pickers are not asking for any salary, or for the private companies to be put out of business. They are simply asking to be able to sort waste before it is collected, so they can retain their livelihoods and have some way of supporting themselves and their families.