Mexico City has come up with an innovative solution to a massive garbage problem – free food. Residents of the Mexican capital can now exchange recyclable material for local produce. Needless to say, the public is loving it. The monthly market, started in March, has queues of people waiting at 6am, and the food often runs out by midday. The programme has already collected 140 tonnes of rubbish and distributed 60 tonnes of produce.
With a population of 21 million, it's not surprising that Mexico City is looking for ways to minimise its solid waste stream. When the last major landfill closed earlier this year, garbage simply piled up on the street. This new programme isn't a permanent solution to the city's garbage problems as it only diverts a small fraction of the overall waste, but administrators hope it will help create a recycling ethic among the population. The programme also helps support public health and local farmers, which will result in long-term benefits for the city.
Plans are already under way for additional markets to be opened in order to build on this initial success. Waste management is a serious problem in need of innovative solutions – three cheers for Mexico's ingenuity and creativity.
Read more: The Guardian takes an in-depth look at the overwhelming problem of rubbish engulfing Mexico City.
Sources: Economist, Christian Science Monitor, Guardian