Innovation That Matters

In Mexico, scheme exchanges rubbish for fresh produce


Launched in Mexico City, the government-led Mercado de Trueque is a barter service which offers fresh food in exchange for recyclable materials.

Mexico City has proven to be a resourceful place for the recycling of unwanted items. We’ve seen sneaker swaps in the past that make use of unwanted footwear and now a recent government-led barter service, Mercado de Trueque, offers fresh produce in exchange for recyclable materials. Having started in March this year, the market will run every Sunday until the end of the year from Chapultepec Park in the country’s capital. Residents can visit the location with glass (clear, amber, green and blue), paper/cardboard, aluminum beverage cans, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and tetrapak cartons, handing them over in return for ‘green points’ that can be used to purchase local farmers’ goods at the market. Market customers can exchange up to ten kilograms of waste and must separate and clean their rubbish. Organized by the Secretaría del Medio Ambiente (Ministry of Environment), the scheme aims to demonstrate how waste products can retain their value beyond initial use; the goods on sale are purchased with money received from the waste management companies receiving the recyclable goods. The initiative benefits both farmers and waste management companies involved in the exchange, as well as residents who get to swap their rubbish for food, while simultaneously raising awareness of the importance of recycling. One to replicate in your part of the world?



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