Brazil is the giant of Latin America: it has the largest territory, the largest population, and the region's biggest economy. The country's industry, which requires a wide variety of inputs, such as metals, glass, textiles, timber and rubber, has kept on growing despite the international economic crisis. It also has shown a strong demand for recyclable materials because they are cheaper than virgin raw materials. Brazilian scavengers are popularly known as catadores, and have been traditionally looked down upon by the rest of society. Public policy on their activities had a turning point in 1998, when UNICEF published a study on child labor among catadores. In 1999, as a result of the Waste and Citizenship Program and the government's outreach to catadores, the Movimento Nacional dos Catadores de Materials Reciclaveis (MNCR), a national federation of scavenger groups and organizations was created. MNCR represents 500 catador associations and cooperatives with 60,000 members from throughout the country.
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