Born in Brazil in 2012, Pimp My Carroza (a play of words on the MTV show “Pimp My Ride”) is an initiative of the renowned graffiti artist, Thiago Mundano. Because in developing countries the state has not historically provided recycling services, recycling has been done through the hard work of families who travel our streets every day, digging into our garbage and salvaging recyclables.  

The purpose of the project is to fix and paint the carrozas (carts) that recyclers push every day, performing a crucial job for our environment. Despite the importance of their work, these people and their families face stigma, poor working and living conditions, and extreme exploitation.

Why do we want to make this happen? Because in Bogota we produce over 10.000 tons of waste a day. We have the potential to recycle 50% of it, but right now, the vast majority of it goes directly to our landfills.

With this project, we seek to raise awareness of recyclers’ environmental contributions, and to encourage residents to separate recyclables so that recyclers don’t have to dig through the trash. This project will improve the livelihoods of recyclers by increasing their visibility and recognition, and making their work a little easier and safer.

Importantly, we are working in solidarity with the Association of Recyclers of Bogotá (ARB), an organization that has helped lead the struggle for recycler rights for the past 25 years on the local, national, and transnational levels. By shining light on recyclers’ environmental contributions, we hope to contribute to their battle to win official recognition and remuneration for their labor.

By painting and arranging their carrozas, we want the city to recognize recycler’s labor, and to make visible the invisible. We want the carrozas to serve as "mobile canvases" that raise public awareness about recyclers' environmental contributions, as well as functional tools for the recyclers. Thus, we will also provide adjustments to the carrozas that will increase their carrying capacity while reducing safety hazards.

On November 8, 2015,  240 volunteers and 40 recycler  families participated in the first edition of Pimp My Carroza Bogota. We are hoping to increase these numbers for the second edition, which  will take place on November 6th, 2016. We hope to turn this into a regular event in Bogota and other Colombian cities.

The idea is to have a Pit Stop where, both the carroza and the recycler, will enter and receive a special treatment: For the Carroza: - Carroza wash - Carpentry - Blacksmiths - Tire Center - Painting - Pimping (installing gadgets such as mirrors, reflective tapes and others) For the Recycler: - Hair styling – Catered Food - Health center - Gift bags: uniform, working boots, cap, grooming kit and others. Other Activities: - Veterinary services for their pets.

We look forward to receiving your support and improving the lives of Bogotá’s 20,000 recyclers and of their families.

Organizer and beneficiary

Andres Felipe Padilla
Oakland, CA
Manuel Rosaldo

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