This paper presents an informal recycling system managed by scavengers in Bantar Gebang final disposal site for municipal solid waste generated in Jakarta. Data were obtained through daily conversations with scavengers who deal with recyclables in the site. Seven processing steps of informal recycling were observed at the site. Scavengers at the site were referred to as their managerial names in their community, and then at least 8 types of recycling actors were identified: 1) big boss, 2) small boss, 3) big middleman, 4) small middleman, 5) live-in waste picker, 6) live-out waste picker, 7) independent waste picker, and 8) daily worker. Live-in and live-out waste pickers were continuously employed by their bosses, while independent waste pickers and daily workers depended on temporary employer–employee relationships. The positions of the recycling actors were not always fixed and there were many paths of career tracks and setbacks mainly due to individual economic status. All big bosses and big middlemen have built direct connections with recycling factories, and the community of scavengers in the site recognized them as big bosses and big middlemen due to the connections. A big boss of waste pickers, mainly dealing with plastic recyclables, was intensively investigated to clarify the buyer–seller relationship between the boss and other recycling actors. Common ground between formal and informal sectors should be built for making new waste management policies in the way that the existing informal recycling system is successfully integrated into the formal recycling system.
► Informal recycling was studied in the slums of a final disposal site in Indonesia. ► At least 8 types of recycling actors were identified in the final disposal site. ► Big bosses and big middlemen had direct connections with recycling factories. ► The positions of the recycling actors were not always fixed due to economic status. ► Common ground between formal and informal sectors should be established.