The capital of Mexico, Mexico City, is one of the largest metropolitan areas across the globe. The city itself is home to approximately 8.8 million people, while including the outer regions of the city increases the total to over 20 million people. The massive population also produces a lot of waste, which until recently was poorly managed according to city officials.
As of 2008, only six percent of the waste accumulated across Mexico City was recycled. However, through a green movement going through waste management, the city has managed to increase the recycling percentage to nearly sixty percent. Prior to the recycling programs implemented the city generated 12,600 tons of garbage daily which needed to be carted away and dumped. Now the city has reduced the total dumped daily by half.
The city will be closing one of its busiest dumps as of December 31st, the Bordo Poniente. Instead of accepting garbage the dump will eventually be used to generate energy through methane, a gas common at dumps. The city will also be attempting to recycle a great deal of the waste, including creating reusable items. 3,000 tons of the garbage will be used to produce energy by the Cemex SAB concrete plant. Any remaining garbage will be allocated to other dumps while the city tries to reduce garbage generation totals further.
The Bordo Poniente has been around since the mid-eighties when it was created to handle the debris from a 1985 earthquake. Upwards of 76 million tons of trash have been placed at the dump, which will now fitted to become an energy generator rather than producer. By closing the dump, city officials estimate that 2 or more million tons of carbon dioxide will be prevented from entering the atmosphere each year.
The city continues to improve upon their waste management system and plans to implement further recycling programs. Mexico City’s use of recycling and composting programs has become a good example of how cities can work to green their waste management systems.