These are Cartoneros. They collect pretty much anything that can be recycled. Their industry is an intriguing one, its history rooted in the country's 2000/2001 economic crisis, when many Argentineans from across the social classes lost their jobs, and were left with the challenge of finding alternate sources of income, or face homelessness and hunger. (Despite the illusion of grandeur in some parts of this cosmopolitan city, approximately 30% of Argentineans are currently living below the poverty line.)
Often misunderstood, the Cartoneros here face grueling work days and endless prejudice from their fellow citizens, many of whom see them as "dirty", "beggars", or "thieves".
The boys and I, interested in this part of Buenos Aires's daily fabric, decided to do a little research on the city's "cardboard people". Alex and Simon will be sharing their findings and interpretations via an Explain Everything presentation, to be posted soon on their respective blogs. Stay tuned!