Through the lenses of Urban Recyclers
Many elderly Urban Recyclers are resilient people. They want to earn their own money, despite their age. But if given the choice, of course they would prefer to spend their remaining days working less hard. Unfortunately, many do not have such a choice. The costs of living in Singapore are rising and it is harder for many people’s income to match their living costs. It is even more the case for the urban recyclers.
It is very insightful to befriend our Urban Recyclers and understand their needs. They toil day after day under the Singaporean heat to pick up newspapers, tins and scraps of cardboard, and it is our responsibility to reach out and lend a helping hand.
“I do not feel ashamed of my work because I rely on my own ability to earn money. I am neither stealing or robbing, there is no need to be embarrassed,” one of our Urban Recyclers had said.
Just because an old lady might say she is doing all right, pushing this trolley with 10 kilos of cardboard doesn’t mean we don’t ask ourselves why, in a country as prosperous as Singapore, an 80-year-old is doing this at all. As we come alongside them to befriend and provide them with practical help, we are able to do our part in society.
By viewing unrecognized cardboard collectors as our treasured Urban Recyclers, we can better appreciate our unsung heroes, an invaluable part of the ecosystem of our national waste management system and sustainability efforts. We hope to look through the lenses of Urban Recyclers and walk in their shoes, so that we can improve their lives in this urban city that we call home.