Money In the Trash

Egypt's waste management has a significant informal sector made up of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The most famous of these small businessmen are the zebaline of Manshayet Nasr. A mainly christian neighborhood tucked in the bosom of Mokkatem. Every day they collect waste from houses and businesses in Cairo and bring it back to their homes to sort and recycle it.

Their workshops and business models are diverse and flexible depending on the markets and opportunities.

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 12: Piles of cardboard are stored outside on December 12, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 15: A zebaline loads a truck on December 15, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 18: The dregs and impurities of aluminum are cooled in a pit on December 18, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. They make a relatively good wage by selling tons of aluminum for about $240 a week. But the workspace is littered with danger putting them in a race to save enough money before they are injured. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: Trucks full of collected waste drive through the narrow streets on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: A man builds a new horse cart while his family relax in the street on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: Workers smoke shish and drink coffee in a small coffee shop on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: A man comforts his horse in the street on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 15: Old SIM card cases are prepared to be washed and recycled on December 15, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 17: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 17.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: A pig has a standoff with a cow on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. Pigs were slaughtered in mass by the government a few years ago but their population has returned. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 15: Bails of cardboard and paper line a wall on December 15, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: A garbage collector, zebaline, stands beside his cart of waste on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 18: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 18.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 18: A tea man delivers drinks to an aluminum recycling workshop on December 18, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. They make a relatively good wage by selling tons of aluminum for about $240 a week. But the workspace is littered with danger putting them in a race to save enough money before they are injured. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 15: Miracles, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 15.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 15: Pet pigeons fly at sunset beside the cliff of Mokattam on December 15, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 17: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 17.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO EGYPT - December 09: A look at waste processing in Manshayet Nasr, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 09.

(David Degner / Getty)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 09: A truck filled with collected waste sits in front of a house on December 09, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 09: A waste collector picks up his receipt from a weigh station which will determine how much he is payed for his load on December 09, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 12: Dealers of building supplies set up stalls in between the graves in Cairo's Friday Market on December 12, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Much of Egypt's waste management is based on an informal economy. Building and commercial products are collected by bikyia or bikia men. Then they are resold to dealers in the friday markets. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 12: Miracles, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 12.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: A man smokes shish and relaxes in the street while building a cart on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 13: A shredder is used to turn waste fabric into something that can be melted down and reused on December 13, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Much of Egypt's waste management is based on an informal economy. Building and commercial products are collected by bikyia or bikia men. Then they are resold to dealers in the friday markets. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 15: A man sorts types of plastic in a workshop on December 15, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 15: A machine worker builds and repairs the parts used in recycling on December 15, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 16: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 16.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO EGYPT - December 17: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 17.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 17: A priest walks through the street on December 17, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 17: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 17.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 18: A man creates coat hangers from recycled plastic on December 18, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. Families divide responsibility from collecting trash, sorting it, processing it, and either selling it to outside factories or processing it into final goods. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 18: A worker takes a break from stirring pots of melted aluminum on December 18, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. They make a relatively good wage by selling tons of aluminum for about $240 a week. But the workspace is littered with danger putting them in a race to save enough money before they are injured. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 18: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 18.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 18: A worker stirs pots of melted aluminum on December 18, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. They make a relatively good wage by selling tons of aluminum for about $240 a week. But the workspace is littered with danger putting them in a race to save enough money before they are injured. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 18: Workers stir pots of melted aluminum on December 18, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. They make a relatively good wage by selling tons of aluminum for about $240 a week. But the workspace is littered with danger putting them in a race to save enough money before they are injured. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO EGYPT - December 18: L'Oreal factory in 10 Ramadan, CAIRO, EGYPT on December 18.

(David Degner / Freelance)

CAIRO, EGYPT - December 18: Ingots of pure aluminum are stacked to be cooled and sold on December 18, 2014 in Cairo, Egypt. Nestled under the cliff of Mokattam is Manshiyat Naser, or Garbage City. It is a majority christian neighborhood with an economy built on waste collection and recycling. They make a relatively good wage by selling tons of aluminum for about $240 a week. But the workspace is littered with danger putting them in a race to save enough money before they are injured. (Photo by David Degner/Getty Images).

CAIRO, EGYPT - September 09: Sherif Hosny of Schaduf stands in front of one of the rooftop gardens that his company designed on September 09, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt. David Degner for The National

CAIRO, EGYPT - September 09: Sherif Hosny of Schaduf stands in front of one of the rooftop gardens that his company designed on September 09, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt. David Degner for The National

CAIRO, EGYPT - September 09: Sherif Hosny of Schaduf stands in front of one of the rooftop gardens that his company designed on September 09, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt. David Degner for The National

CAIRO, EGYPT - September 09: Sherif Hosny of Schaduf stands in front of one of the rooftop gardens that his company designed on September 09, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt. David Degner for The National

CAIRO, EGYPT - September 09: Sherif Hosny of Schaduf stands in front of one of the rooftop gardens that his company designed on September 09, 2015 in Cairo, Egypt. David Degner for The National