Only available for non-commercial distribution
© IRD, CNRS, AUF - 2020

People of waste (The). Living plastic





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Original material



What happens to our garbage after it is dumped?

Through the example of Delhi, the film explores the transformation of a piece of plastic waste into a resource, through filmed interviews with diverse “people of waste” living in the shadow of consumer society. It aims at making visible the myriad of professions that specialize in the collection, sorting, reselling, cleaning, shredding and transformation of waste, from the stigmatized garbage picker at the bottom of the chain until the industrialist at the top of the pyramid who re-injects the recovered materials into the formal economy.

Beyond the Indian case, it reminds the spectators of their responsibility as a producer of waste and their relation with this waste recovery system, putting into question the ambivalent discourses on recycling which tend to legitimize an endless mass consumption.

Bibliography :
- de Bercegol, Rémi, and Shankare Gowda. "A new waste and energy nexus? Rethinking the modernisation of waste services in Delhi." Urban Studies 56.11 (2019): 2297-2314.
- de Bercegol, Rémi, and Shankare Gowda. "«Nettoyer l'Inde», la marginalisation des récupérateurs de déchets à Delhi." Les Cahiers d'Outre-Mer. Revue de géographie de Bordeaux 73.281 (2020): 41-68.

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CNRS Institute(s)

Scientific topics

CNRS Images,

Our work is guided by the way scientists question the world around them and we translate their research into images to help people to understand the world better and to awaken their curiosity and wonderment.