The paper links measurable impacts towards tackling SDGs through the work of organized waste pickers involved in resource recovery. There is a large structural heterogeneity among organized waste pickers, which directly affects the working conditions, the level of income and productive outcomes and the sustainable development potential of waste pickers. The Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) plays an important role in successfully organizing waste pickers and supporting their infrastructure and capacity building. The political will of local governments to establish selective waste collection and recycling contracts with waste picker organizations is crucial to allow these groups to thrive and address the SDGs. The empirical findings show how these cooperatives and associations are addressing key social, economic and environmental challenges, build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities. The study reveals some of the mechanisms through which the SSE provides a means of implementation for the SDGs and discusses challenges and the possibility for scaling up or replicating some of these innovative grassroots initiatives. The findings contribute towards transformative policy changes.