This book uses eclectic, triangulated methods to explore the socio-economics of waste and of the commodity chains involved in recycling. Known as 'unorganised' in India, this part of the informal economy is anything but that. In developing theoretical ideas about poverty, agency and choice, the politics of caste and patronage, the institutions and regulation of markets and judicial activism, this book illustrates how grounded field research contributes to practical policies of urban land-use, pollution, and livelihoods. Its study of garbage collectors, scavengers, and the plastic recycling or scrap trading self-employed entrepreneurs reveals a very complex pattern of organisation and linkages with the market economy and productive employment. The book shows that the most imperative requirement for a policy of alleviating poverty and expanding employment is understanding very clearly how the different segments of India's informal economy work, interact with each other, and link up with market forces. © Oxford University Press 2010. All rights reserved.