This is a documentary film about the extraction of value from waste. The film meets with a range of the diverse actors that make up the waste economy in Cape Town, South Africa, from experts, industrial entrepreneurs to informal waste pickers. We gain an appreciation of how this formal-to-informal economy operates and functions. We learn about the small profit margins at various points in the chain, the influence of global prices, and how a great part of the economic value produced is carried on the backs and labour of informal recyclers that have very meager outcomes.
The film is well-suited to be used by NGOs and government agencies to foreground policy discussions. It is also an effective audio-visual tool for undergraduate and graduate teaching, both in face-to-face teaching and online teaching situations.
Scholarly reference to the film is: Kruger, Yvette, Nate Millington, and Henrik Ernstson. 2019. "Turning Livelihoods to Rubbish?" Produced in South Africa & UK by Substance Films, The Situated Urban Political Ecologies Collective, and The University of Manchester. situatedupe.net/tlr/turning-livelihoods-to-rubbish/.
Direction & Production: Yvette Kruger, Substance Films
Research & Associate Producer: Nate Millington, The University of Manchester
Executive Producer: Henrik Ernstson, The University of Manchester
Editing: Benjamin Haskins
Photography: Grant Atkinson
Sound: Thomas Cleghorn and Jonathan Chiles