Fidel has been doing this work for four months already. Hes a professional. "A good cartonero is one with a big cart and sandbag," he says seriously. "He has his contacts with the door-keepers of the big apartment buildings, with the people of the shops. They keep their garbage and carton boxes till the moment the cartonero is passing by."
When he started there were not so many people who did this kind of work. "The difference with the others, the new cartoneros is really clear. They tear up any bag they see and root in the trash, they leave a mash behind and obviously people become angry. They make it difficult for us," he tells me, pointing at the trash that is all over the pavement.
We rest for a while and stare at the others who pass by, these new cartoneros with their half-filled trolleys. The bag of Fidel is full, very full. The difference is very obvious.