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Industrialisation of the Home: Tools, Waste and Circularity in the Zabbaleen Community in Cairo

Meghana Patel



Sarah De Villiers, Dr. Huda Tayob, Naadira Patel


18 - Hyperreal Prototypes


Cairo's 15 million inhabitants generate an average of 9 000 tons of household solid waste every day, and every day thousands of residents of Cairo, known as Zabbaleen (Arabic for garbage collectors) collect about one-third of this waste. They undertake the daily tasks on door-to-door collection, transport, sorting, recovery, trading and re-manufacturing, using household waste from major sections of Cairo. Their sorting spaces are adjacent to their living spaces. The recycling micro-enterprise industry has generated jobs and incomes for an estimated 40 000 people. All this activity is in the informal sector.

Industrialisation of the Home explores the dynamics of the Zabbaleen community. Through the view of the existing value chain, it aims to shorten the chain of events in the production method. The key aspects, in order to break down the timeline of events, are to understand the scale of tools, where the loopholes within this community lie and where the value of product is at its lowest.

The project prototypes the industrialisation of the home, through a set of tools that are used daily by the Zabbaleen community in creating micro factories.