They can be seen throughout Sao Paulo, whether on the main city streets (as above, in the financial district) or off on the side residential streets (as below, two streets away from us). The recycling brigade. It seems that if you have two wheels and an axle, and a few spare pieces of wood, you can make a living. Of a sort.

You can see these men and women pulling their carts and hauling anything from bags of trash to 10-ft-high loads of collapsed cardboard. They’re Sao Paulo’s version of rickshaw drivers, hauling dregs and dross instead of people. In the residential area across the main road from us, it appears that residents pile their recycling outside their gates on a certain day, and the recyclers come through and haul it away.

Other caravans seem to be hauling trash, which I’m not certain, since every street has trash bins for community pickup placed every 100 feet or so along the sidewalk.

Where they take it, I have no idea, but you can see them walking among the cars in the busiest traffic, pulling their loads. The cars, surprisingly, give them clear paths. (The traffic here has been compared to a school of fish. One car zigs and they all zig; one zags, and they all zag. You can see them stream around these vehicles on the busiest highways.)

Now that our first household effects batch has arrived, we have a plethora of cardboard and packing materials, which the transport companies don’t want returned to them.

Tom plans to ask the zelador of the apartments whether she has the name of a local recycler. If she doesn’t, we’ll stop one on the street and arrange for a pickup. This load, and the larger one to come, would be quite a haul, in more ways than one.

Though, perhaps we should just take them and put them on street, and let these folks use them for housing. Some of the boxes are very sturdy; they’d hold up in the winter weather, well, better than newspaper and taped-together bits of plastic.