One challenge we face is getting a regular supply of recyclables in big enough quantities, because most pickers don’t see it as a worthwhile job. So, the turnover is high.
We’ve tried various ways to build loyalty. At one point, we gave them gloves and overalls, but they sold them. The extra cash meant more, and we understand that.
We found out that actually, besides money, they value their respect and dignity. The most successful thing we do is give them tea and biscuits once a week. It’s a moment of peace and a chance to chat before they go back out into the world. This builds trust and strengthens our relationship.
We also use technology to track an individual’s activity and advise them how to boost their earnings. The reality is, most could get at least the minimum wage, just like many other workers in the city.