A waste picker is a person who salvages reusable or recyclable materials thrown away by others to sell or for personal consumption. There are millions of waste pickers worldwide, predominantly in developing countries, but increasingly in post-industrial countries as well.
Forms of waste picking have been practiced since antiquity, but modern traditions of waste picking took root during industrialization in the nineteenth century. Over the past half-century, waste picking has expanded vastly in the developing world due to urbanization, toxic colonialism and the global waste trade. Many cities only provide solid waste collection.