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Solution by: Secretaría del Medio Ambiente del Distrito Federalico City

Swapping Trash for Locally Grown Food  Mexico City, Mexico: At the monthly Barter Market, citizens can exchange recyclable waste for vouchers to use on locally produced vegetables. Mexico City has since 2012 organized a monthly Barter Market, where citizens drop off recyclable waste and in return receive vouchers to use at a nearby farmers’ markets. Citizens bring in recyclable waste – paper, glass, PET packages, aluminum cans, and small electrical appliances – which is separated and delivered to treatment plants by public employees and volunteers.

ENVIRONMENTAL In 2014, 128,290 tonnes of waste was collected for recycling at Mexico City’s Barter Market. 2 THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

SOCIAL The Barter Market provides employment in food production and trash collection, which can provide jobs for some of the 250,000 unemployed people in Mexico City. 3

The Barter Market is set up in different locations across the city and attracts more than 4,000 people monthly, who exchange an average of 15 tonnes of waste each market day. WHY A SUSTAINIA100 SOLUTION? Only 12% of the 12,000 tonnes of daily waste generated in Mexico City is recycled.1 The need for a better recycling culture has only grown since the world’s biggest landfill was closed on the outskirts of the city in 2012. The Barter Market raises awareness about waste recycling among citizens via an incentives system benefitting citizens and local farmers alike.

ECONOMIC Vouchers can only be used to buy local vegetables, which strengthens the local agricultural economy.

At the Barter Market, citizens can exchange waste such as cardboard for vouchers to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables.  DEVELOPED IN ...




Maciag, M. “Mexico City’s Recycling Incentive: More Food.” Governing. Feb 2013. 2


Secretaría del Medio Ambiente del Distrito Federal. “Mercade de Trueque.” Online:

Danish Architecture Centre. “Mexico City’s trash for food market.” Online: © ‘Scenes from a Mexico City market as the men’s soccer team won Olympic gold.’ By Julie Louisa Hagenbuch. Licensed under CC BY. . ‘Mercado Jamaica, Mexico City’. By Luigi Guarino. Licensed under CC BY. ‘Waste is not waste until it’s wasted.’ By Laith Wark. Licensed under CC BY.



Sustainia100 2015