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In Marília, Brazil, refuse is collected at least every other day, yet non-useful,
non-returnable containers such as cans, plastic bottles and tires account for almost
half of the container habitats found positive for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. A study
was therefore conducted to investigate why these containers exist despite regular
refuse collection and a high level of awareness of dengue prevention, and how the
control program could most effectively respond. Differing community perceptions as
to what constitutes refuse were found to lead people to store a variety of containers
in their yard. Other dimensions of the problem include the presence of informal refuse
collectors in search of saleable materials, and dumping of refuse in vacant lots and
along roads. An intervention based on these data will involve the informal refuse
collectors in implementation of a community-based recycling project.