The plastic collection level of recycling supply chains is in constant flux and often
unregulated, making it difficult to monitor or formalize. This makes the individuals
working at this production step extremely vulnerable to fluctuating market prices and
hazardous working conditions. It also can lead to instances of child labor.
Four hundred families rely on waste collection in Haiti’s Truttier landfill as a primary
source of income. These families often face the difficult decision of involving children in
this work in order to ensure the economic security and well-being of the family.
Currently, around 300 children live and collect in the landfill as their source of survival.
Child labor is a nuanced and complicated problem, indicative of systemic poverty and
lack of opportunity. While most companies’ first response to witnessing child labor in
the supply chain is to ignore the problem or walk away from it, a small group have made
it their responsibilities to find a solution.
Since its founding in 2016, the First Mile Coalition has initiated programming for 50 kids
and their heads of household. This programming is addressing health, education, and
employment needs of these families. The intake process for the second cohort of 50
kids will begin this summer. While we are making progress, there is still work to be
done, and 250 more kids who need support.
Initiating programming for the first 50 children and parents/heads of households, included:
Conducting health screenings and ensuring open access to medical care
Completing independent education assessment
Placing kids into appropriate education settings
Providing food assistance
Surveying parents/heads of household on employment needs