Trash collecting may sound dismal, but in this film, shot in Rio de Janeiro, the people featured are undaunted, and proud of their survival skills. They make their living picking through trash in search of recyclable material and are popularly known as donkeys without a tail. This occupation traces its roots to the job of garrafeiro, or "bottle collector." Portuguese immigrants to Brazil made their living pushing wooden carts down the street to collect bottles (thus their nickname bears the allusion to pack animals.)
The early immigrants sold only bottles and other containers that could be re-used. Today trash collectors work with a wide variety of materials; plastics, glass, iron, copper, paper, and cardboard. By following the daily route of five of these energetic collectors we come into contact with one aspect of urban life in Brazil.
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