Innovation That Matters

Brazil's rubbish collectors get their rides pimped


Pimp My Carroca is a scheme where artists in Sao Paulo celebrate recycling and rubbish collectors by customizing their carts.

In Sao Paulo, 20,000 waste collectors driving carts called carrocas are integral to keeping Brazil’s most populated city clean. They collect and resell 90 percent of the city’s recyclable material that would otherwise end up in landfills. But this is a much undervalued role, considering the fact that the city currently produces 6.5 million tons of rubbish per year and recycles only 1 percent. Now, artist Thiago Mundano is promoting and celebrating the invaluable service by decorating the carts through his Pimp My Carroca scheme.


At an event earlier this year, Mundano led a team of artists and volunteers who added security signals, mirrors, hunks, and artistic customization to the carrocas. They also provided the garbage pickers and their families with a medical checkup, psychological therapy, massages, haircuts and meals. A demonstration followed that aimed to highlight the poor conditions the workers endure despite the necessity of their work.

Pimp My Carroca was financed by a successful crowdfunding campaign through Brazilian platform Catarse. We have seen a number of other examples of artists decorating city infrastructure for mutual benefit, such as Mumbai’s taxis. Could a similar project celebrate rubbish collectors in other countries?



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