Let’s consider a family composed of a father, a mother and two children (one daughter of 13, and a son of 11).
This exercise we made doesn’t reflect the reality of a real waste pickers family’s purse as their year is mostly divided in 2 parts : the ‘dry’ season and the monsoon season, in which they are not able to work a lot because of the climate.
We based this analysis on a monthly consideration of the incomes/expenses as it is the most understandable scheme for us, but you have to know that the numbers are only averages.
On top of that, the waste pickers have a day-to-day way of managing their households, as they are paid daily according to the value of their ‘picking’. They spend almost all the money the same day as they will get another ‘wage’ the day after.
Money got from the waste picking : 3 250 Rps
This money is earned by the waste picking of the mother and her daughter that go waste picking from 6 am to noon approximately 20 days per month during the dry season, but only 5-10 days during the monsoon. The monsoon time lasts from early June to the end of October and during that time they are able to earn 1 500 Rps a month. During the rest of the year they make around 4 500 Rps a month
Money got from the lottery : 1 083 Rps
The waste pickers gather in small groups of approx. 30-60 families and put 250 Rps every week in a lottery. Each week a name is drawn and the family earns the whole money. Let’s assume that our family is in a group of 52 people, thus winning the pot of 13 000 Rps once a year.
Money got from the loan : 667 Rps
To pass over the ’low revenue’ monsoon period the family has to contract a loan. That loan is not a one time loan, it is more like a day to day loan that the family contracts to a local scrape dealer. The amount of the loan is approx. 8 000 Rps per year.
Money got from the dad : 500 Rps
Many men in the slums are daily-wage labourers, or do seasonal work such as playing the drum or trumpet in bands at weddings. As labourers, they find work only sporadically and earn less than 100 Rs a day when they are hired. As musicians, they are frequently book out for wedding season between November and February (the only auspicious months during which to be married) and are often without work the rest of the year. They often make around 1,500 during the four months of wedding high season, averaging to 500 Rs per month over the year. Unfortunately, the low season for waste picker, musician, and labourer incomes all bottom out around the same time, leaving poor families dependent on loans from scrap dealers to bridge the low season.
Rent : 0 Rps
In Indore, the waste pickers more often than not own their own house in the slums.
Health Care/Medicine: 500 Rps
In order to buy medicines for the whole family or take care of some illness, waste pickers spend around 500Rps per month.
Food: 1500 Rps
Food is one of the biggest share of the expenses in waste pickers families. Although, when possible, Waste Venture try to enrol them in the ration card process that are available for the poorest in India. This sum takes in account the enrolment of the family.
Lottery (BC): 1 000 Rps
250 Rps per week.
Alcohol: 300 Rps
Regular consumption of alcohol among waste pickers is widespread – we conservatively estimate 80% of waste picker adults consume alcohol at least three times a week. However, social taboos around alcohol consumption often cause under-reporting of the amount of their expenses for that purpose. A standard 250 ml bottle of ‘adda’ (locally-produced alcohol) costs 25 Rs, from which we estimate a monthly cost of 300 Rs per family.
Interests on their loans : 800 Rps
The loan they have to contract during the rainy season has a high interest rate of around 20 %.
Household expenses : clothes, material to fix the house, sheets, pots
Or big items : TV, moto : 833 Rps
Transports: 300 Rps
Depending on what they pick during the day the waste pickers sometimes needs the help of a transportation to bring their ‘pickings’ back home.