The documentary Lixo Extraordinário (Waste Land), which was made by O2 between 2007 and 2009 in a co-production with Almega Projects, follows the Brazilian plastic artist Vik Muniz through one of the largest garbage landfills in the world: Jardim Gramacho outside Rio de Janeiro, before it was redesigned. The film focuses on a group of recycling pickers, showing their work and their dignity, and depicts the desperation that they feel imagining their lives outside of where they earn their daily bread.
It’s an opportune moment to remember this documentary and note the importance of these garbage pickers at a time when the media is showing that Brazil recycled
318.5 thousand tons of aluminum cans in 2014, which amounts to 98.4% of all its aluminum cans. According to the Brazilian Aluminum Association and the Brazilian Can Producers Association, during the last year 22.9 billion containers were recycled, which is equal to 62.7 million per day or 2.6 million per hour*. We owe these pickers our respect and gratitude.
Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker and João Jardim, was nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar in 2011 and won awards at the Berlin, Sundance and Dallas film festivals.
Click here to see the trailer.
*This data was published in the newspaper Monitor Mercantil on November 5.