A Successfull Barter System


Mexico City Officials Encourage Recycling by Providing Organic Produce for Recyclable Trash

The “Mercado de Trueque”, or barter market, gathered thousands of people in Mexico City on Sunday.   For a second year running, the city council was able to collect tons of recyclable material, which otherwise would be sent to landfills.

Barter, by definition, is a system of exchange by which goods are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.  In this case citizens, who brought cans, paper, milk cartons, glass, and broken electrical appliances,  to the market were given green points, which then can be spent in a nearby organic produce market.

The project was launched by the government of Mexico City in their attempt to clean up one of the most polluted cities in the world and to help divert as much trash from their landfill sites which have reached capacity.

It is clearly a win-win for all parties involved.  Recyclable materials are carefully weighed and transported to a local recycling company, the local farmers have their organic produce bought by the government for higher than the market price, and the citizens get high-quality fresh produce in return for their trash.

The popularity of the event is great. The barter market is organized every month at various locations around the city.  Each month, more than 2,000 citizens take advantage of the opportunity to exchange trash for food and have as a result understood the value of separating the materials.

Although the market alone is far from solving the recycling problems of the city, it does raise awareness while encouraging people to do something good for the environment.

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