Spotlight on Cooperatives

Association of Individual and Organized Recovery in Local Economic Markets

AMELIOR is a French cooperative of street collectors, waste picker recyclers, and second hand sellers which established in 2012.

Article | 08 December 2016
Mr Samuel Le Couer, Amelior (L) and a counterpart from a Brazilian waste picker association in Brazil 

What is AMELIOR?

AMELIOR (Association des Marchés Economiques Locaux Individuels et Organisés de la Récupération ) is a cooperative of street collectors, waste picker recyclers, and second hand sellers which was established in 2012. It is one of three similar initiatives in Paris that have been established to provide social recognition and economic support for waste pickers who are involved in collecting, repairing and upgrading objects and devices which they then sell in flea markets.

How does AMELIOR work?

The cooperative assists its 600 members to recover, recycle and upgrade waste and access second hand markets. In addition to advocating for the rights of its members AMELIOR also organizes educational activities around selective sorting, recycling and circular economy.

AMELIOR works with the equal share of benefits. Half of the profit belongs to worker-members. The other half is used for investment. All decisions are made during its bi-monthly meetings.

The waste picker members are the key decision makers in determining the activities of the cooperative. AMELIOR’s education activities are aimed at ensuring public support for their members who are often excluded from institutional decision making in most cities.

What are their successes in terms of their partnerships and negotiating better deals for waste pickers?

Recently the cooperative has secured two contracts with cities for market linkages. There has been growing public recognition for the waste pickers since AMELIOR’s was  established four years ago. The cooperative has also secured structural investments from the local government as well as the private sector. AMELIOR has also raised funds to organize public education campaigns for recognition of and solidarity with waste pickers. In addition,  AMELIOR participates in research projects on social inclusion of waste pickers.

COOP Spotlight is a series of articles that showcase innovative cooperative initiatives from around the world with whom ILO COOP is engaging for exchange of learning and future collaboration. AMELIOR’s case was presented as one of the good examples at a “The Potential of Cooperatives & the Role of Waste Pickers in the Recycling Sector” held in Ankara, Turkey, on December 20-21, 2016.