We analyze how the informal collectors and the formal sector co-exist in solid waste collection in Kampala. We rely on household surveys and a small survey among the informal collectors in Kampala. Findings suggest that informal collectors play a substantial role in the first stage – collecting solid waste from the households, notably from poorer segments of the population. This is not the ‘dualist’ aspect of poor earnings but actually made possible by them escaping control on where to deposit the waste. Employing a simple technology, and bringing the waste no farther than the nearest unofficial ‘collection point’, they provide services at low cost to the households, but much less so to the community (environmentally of little use). If public provisions can be made for the second stage in waste collection, this may trigger even more supply of small-scale collecting services, a combination that may prove cost effective.