Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Roma- Belgrade's Recyclers

In Belgrade, city recycling is sparse. Money is a big factor, as it takes quite a bit to start up recycling facilities and recycling trucks. I hate throwing cans, glass bottles, plastic, etc. in the garbage.

Instead, the biggest recyclers in Belgrade are the Roma. You will see them around town with their push carts, bicycle carts, and even motorized carts. During the cold of winter, up steep the hills of Belgrade, in neighborhoods, in busy streets - all places where you see these carts. The main contents of these carts is cardboard, gathered from dumpsters. Boxes are carefully flattened and neatly stacked, so as to fit the maximum amount in a cart. Some likely is used for their ramshackle homes and the rest they get money from the government. It's a win-win situation for all.

In addition to collecting cardboard, the Roma are great dumpster divers. Pieces deemed as potentially useful/wanted are often placed next to the dumpsters or attached in a bag. Items tossed and unwanted become treasures for the Roma. Items, particularly discarded furniture, are welcome additions to their homes. Some items are sold along the street next to the main flea market. I even hear that there is a Roma flea market.

I do hope that Belgrade starts a true recycling program soon. Until then, it's the Roma that perform much of this service....

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