Slim is one of the few in Tunisia who do not count hours at work. Early in the morning, he leaves his neighborhood to collect plastic bottles. After years in the streets, he has learned to endure the extreme summer heat and the difficult working conditions. Collecting and recycling plastic is a tiring job, yet Slim is proud of his work.
“I’m saving the environment and putting food on the table for my family. I’m a free and independent man. Young people must work hard instead of complaining and relying on the state for jobs. There is plenty of work in Tunisia. One should not be ashamed to earn a living,” said Slim Ben Romdhane, plastic recycler.
There is an ongoing competition at the National Sports City, and Slim is seizing the opportunity to collect as much plastic as he can in two days.
“Many people understand that recycling is important for the community and the whole country while others do not care about the environment. I’m happy to I see people who respect my work,” said Slim Ben Romdhane, plastic recycler.
Last week, Slim’s motorbike was stolen near his house in the suburbs of Tunis. He was unable to work for a few days. Slim’s cousin Seif came from a distant town to help him collect and transport plastic bottles.
The cousins now work together and share a ride. Seif drives, whlile Slim looks for plastic near dustbins.
“I came to Tunis to help out my cousin. I had no idea about this job. Now I like it. I might end up recycling and selling plastic for the next coming years. It’s a decent job. It’s better than being unemployed,” said Seif Arrabi, plastic transporter.
In some Tunisian cities, it has become unusual to see plastic bottles in the streets because every day, thousands of men and women cross miles to collect, sell and recycle plastic.