TreeHugger has a post on an Egyptian urban area specialising in lo-tech recycling - Photographers Capture Life in Garbage City.
Outside Egypt's capital, in the shadow of the Pyramids and tucked in the mountains of Mokattam, is an incredible city that literally survives on trash. Garbage City, as it's known, is home to 30,000 Zabaleens - Coptic Christians from southern Egypt - who, each day, enter Cairo and collect its waste. 60 percent of the trash produced in Cairo passes through Garbage City to be recycled. It is an amazing sight, awash in refuse.
Recently, photographers Bas Princen, Klavs Bo Christensen and Alexander Heilner visited Garbage City and returned with some captivating images that depict the close, day-to-day relationship between the Zabaleens and the garbage. Piles of the stuff are virtually everywhere, a fact that these recyclers-by-trade seem none too concerned with.
The garbage collecting process is so organized, Cairo has had no need to create a government sponsored program, relying fully upon the residents of Garbage City to collect their trash. Just a single pair of Zabaleens, working with a horse-drawn carriage, are able to collect the trash from 350 of Cairo's homes and businesses. They are not paid for their labor either, as the profiting from recycling is enough for many to live on.