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Problem space

Why are we doing this?

Problem statement

Brazil has around 800,000 people who make a living as waste collectors, and only 10% of them work for cooperatives, being the other 90% independent / autonomous workers. These undervalued and underprivileged workers survive on what other people call trash. Stigmatized, mostly invisible, they struggle to live above the poverty line with unreliable sources of income and no recognition.

We still fail to take into account how important their work is for the sustainable future we need to build. The precarious conditions these men and women survive on show a lot about how our public policies on waste management are inefficient and cruel to people in our planet.

Impact of this problem

How do we judge success?

What are possible solutions?

Cataki app directly connects waste collectors to people who produce waste. With no middlemen, waste collectors are able to have a better and more reliable source of income. In addition, the app enables the collectors to offer their services in a simple and direct manner to whoever needs it.

Today, most apps that want to improve waste management in cities are based on offering information so individuals can get rid of what they call trash. Our solution makes it possible to promote the economic, social and digital inclusion of waste collectors and provide them with a completely new source of income.

The waste collector profile page will work as his/her digital business card, with their record. Besides that, we also tell a bit about their personal life. We understand that this type of information helps connect users and waste collectors, dignifies these workers, and fights their invisibility.

We believe that by being simple and accessible, our technology has what it takes to connect two key parts of our waste management economy that are still spread out. The environmentally friendly logistics played out by independent waste collectors and the need for more efficient waste management solutions. In this way we will build the foundations for our cyclical economy.


What do we already know?

Brazil has around 800,000 waste collectors, 90% of them are independent workers (not organized in cooperatives neither working for enterprises). Brazil has collected 183 thousand tons of waste daily, which means an average of 401.5 kg of waste per year for each Brazilian citizen (1.1 kg/day), according to the Solid Waste National Plan, 2008. 

From this waste, 51% is organic, 32% is potentially recyclable and 17% should be adequately discarded. Only 4% of the potentially recyclable waste are collected by official public programs, thus the other 96% reach recyclable industry by other means.  

In Brazil, 183 million people had a smartphone in 2016. 70% of the Brazilian population older than 10 years old had their own device in 2016, but this rate decreases to 60% among people older than 60 years old.

What do we need to answer?

Ready to make it

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