Economic activities performed by rural populations linked to informal trading and markets have not received a broad attention in the literature. Thus, the question of the present investigation is the role of the informal sector in a rurbanised environment, and if there are differences in the waste management activities of the informal sector in cities and in an urbanised rural environment. To obtain information about the informal waste pickers in the rural areas, data were collected directly through a questionnaire from the following countries (sorting in alphabetic order): Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Jordan, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa and Vietnam. The methodology used for the data collection consisted of a background analysis (with a literature review), complemented with the collection of empirical evidence, field interviews and partially local field analysis. The informal collection of waste is a phenomenon that results in principle from social differences within society and the population. Therefore, it is not surprising that the perception of the activities of informal waste collectors in the scientific literature refers to developing and emerging countries, since social differences are more pronounced. These informal waste management systems in low- and middle-income countries exist usually in parallel with formal waste management systems, a fact that applies for urban as well as rural areas, and might be considered as a result of rurbanisation. The case studies show the development of the informal sector as an important part of the waste management activities, when a country evolves. With increasing economic development, the importance of the informal sector is shrinking step by step in relation with the improvement of the formal activities. Even this development goes faster in urban areas; the conclusion applies also to rural areas.
Part of the book: Solid Waste Management in Rural Areas