Dave Robertson Photography - Professional photographer in Cape Town, South Africa

About the Paper Trails Series series

Every day, a number of men and woman sort through unwanted material that accumulates at urban outlets. Informal recyclers, the so-called "trolley people'' load up their makeshift carts with wastepaper and cardboard and push their cargo to recycling depots, where their colllections are sorted and weighed and they are paid a small fee for their labour.From there, the material undergoes recycling processes and is transformed so that it can re-enter the formal economy, until it ends up once again on the refuse heaps of South Africa's cities, and the process begins anew.

Although their main ambition is to survive, the ''trolley people'' have for many years been inadvertently helping to raise awareness about recycling possibilities. As such they are accidental pioneers in the recycling trend in our country. Yet the more proactive the public becomes about sustainable living, the less opportunity there will be for these informal recyclers to continue exchanging waste for cash to ensure their daily survival.

These images, photographed over a few years, offer a glimpse into the fragile existence of recyclers operating in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Prints are available in two sizes The smaller size is printed on fibre based photographic paper. The larger size is printed on Fuji crystal archive photographic paper. Due to the length of the prints they are normally archivally bonded to aluminium.

  • 122cm x 51cm  edition of 9
  • 200cm x 80cm  editon  of 3
paper trails #9
paper trails #8
paper trails #10