A visit to CEAMSE’s landfill Norte 111 involves a tour around three sorting plants. The evolution of the tour is in itself a fascinating psychological journey. We got into a small air conditioned bus with some business men in white shirts and a very different mission and lived the experience of globalization within 30 minutes. The first visit was to the Social Factory on CEAMSE’s property – run and staffed by cooperatives members from the local barrio. CEAMSE gives them the waste, they separate it with rudimentary equipment and sell it, in order to pay themselves. One worker told us how lucky they were to have been selected to work in this place. The next location was a private factory adjacent to CEAMSE which had more impressive equipment and workers there told us that the compressor (to squash plastic and card into cubes to sell on) was the only one of its kind in South America. The final location was a Chinese run factory currently being established. We were shown into a huge warehouse with huge machines resembling giant green dinosaurs waiting to be fed the waste that would come in tons. This was the largest scale I have ever seen. One of the businessmen suggested that the Chinese equipment was in fact old fashioned and would not work. He preferred a completely labourless automated factory. Cartoneros watch out – your time is limited I fear.

[QUICKTIME https://www.wasteforlife.org/movies/china.mov 320 196]