Despised and scorned by many in Argentina, the cartones or “ragpickers” perform a much needed service.
While Buenos Aires has an “official” recycling policy, it is often not followed because of corruption or inefficiency.
The cartones fill the gap. Sorting through much of the city’s trash at night, they collect the recyclable items and pick up some pocket change while reducing the stress on the overburdened landfills.
While cartones have been around since before Biblical times, they have become ever more popular as the economy tanks in industrialized nations like Argentina.