Invisible Hands


Who is behind this?

Desislava Stoyanova

Environmental Association Za Zemiata (For the Earth) - Friends of the Earth Bulgaria


Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

Public recognition of the role of the wastepickers in Europe by using real-life solutions from the town of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Where will your idea take place?

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Why does Europe need your idea?

Wastepicking is as ubiquitous as waste – it exists in every city on every continent, including Europe. The reason is simple – waste is money. Waste is a resource that is currently tapped mainly by those in need – the homeless, jobless, marginalised. The material and human resources involved in informal waste picking should be amplified by innovative creative changemakers to improve resource efficiency and social cohesion, while supporting green growth in Europe.

We will use this opportunity to propose new ways and tools for recognising the ‘job’ of wastepicking, reconnecting with different kinds of actors across Europe working in one way or another on the matter.

What is your impact?

A mix of diverse professional communities (actors, anthropologists, urbanists, photographers) will discover and publicize the dimensions of waste pickers' role in everyday urban living. A broader audience of event participants, volunteers, decision-makers and media will discuss and search for creative ways to solve the socio-economic-environmental nexus of waste and people. Informal street collectors of recyclable and reusable items in Plovdiv (Bulgaria) will receive positive public attention and their living and working conditions will improve. Through trainings and workshops for developing practical skills and an online platform linking waste pickers with households, there will be opportunities for creating a social enterprise, cooperative, or repair workshop.

How do you get there?

- Participatory observation and research – professional and non-professional volunteers; Workshop for volunteers for acquiring skills
- Documenting and enacting wastepickers lives – theater, photography, storytelling, wastepickers tour, a booklet – ‘a guide in a wastepicker’s world’
- Creative advocacy for public recognition, facilitation of wastepicker's role in resource management in European urban areas
- Trainings based on successful practices of European partners (creative business opportunities) and an international wastepickers gathering including other European countries (Serbia, Macedonia, Italy, Greece, France, etc.).
- Pilot projects – blocks of flats, shops, cafes, to collect the waste separately and an online platform for linking users with their "waste manager"

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?


What makes your idea stand apart?


€ 48000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 50000,-

Total budget

Major expenses




Idea created on April 12, 2015
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

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