One of the World’s Largest Landfills Closes


Written by Rachel Cernansky

Mexico closed one of the world’s largest landfills this month, but it’s not just going to stop accepting trash: The Mexico City government is looking to build a biogas plant to turn the methane produced by the waste in the dump into energy, as well as open a recycling plant to salvage some of the waste and find it a second life.

The Boston Globe reports that construction waste will be recycled into building material, and the BBC reports that a cement company has already agreed to buy 3,000 tons of dry waste a day to burn as fuel. There’s also a composting plant for the organic waste.

The city says it is also negotiating with 1,500 pepenadores (“scavengers” or “waste pickers”): informal workers who play a key role, though unofficial, in Mexico’s (and many other developing countries’) waste management system.

The 927-acre landfill, Bordo Poniente, was collecting up to 12,000 tons of waste a day. Since its construction in 1985, it had collected a total more than 76 million tons of garbage.

A press release about the closure, which is a project undertaken by Mexico City in collaboration with the Clinton Climate Initiative Cities program and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group:

Solid waste in landfills is the third largest source of anthropogenic methane emissions 23 times more potent as a greenhouse gas agent than CO2. Capturing methane from the Bordo Poniente landfill could reduce GHG emissions from Mexico City by 25 million tons of CO2 equivalent over the next 25 years more than one quarter of the city’s total emissions. Globally, it represents one of the largest reductions of GHGs associated with solid waste management.

It is estimated that capturing methane from the Bordo Poniente Landfill could generate over 250 GWh or enough power for an estimated 35,000 homes in Mexico City during the first years of operation.

This post was originally published by Treehugger.


Related Stories:

Where Is Your Old Cell Phone? US E-Waste Across the Globe

Update on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Yes, It’s Still There)

Takeout Without: Leave Disposable Packaging Behind


Photo from D'Arcy Norman via flickr

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SeattleAnn S.
Ann S.3 years ago

Very nice.

Kim Stueck
Kim Stueck3 years ago


Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago

I'm glad they're changing things for the better.

Douglas S.
Douglas S.3 years ago


Roger Monk
Past Member 3 years ago

Thanks for posting this.

Michael C.
Michael C.3 years ago

Bruce S, Racism so suits you. Now go wash your car, mow your grass, kill and butcher your own cow or chicken, roof your own home, pick your own apples, tomatoes.

Are you trying to put those guys and gals of Border Patrol out of work. How un-American.
Just think about all those other racist...those militia folks, out of work.

If you single handedly stop undocumented workers from doing the only jobs that you are capable of...wait maybe that is why you have chosen racism as your road to what you see as redemption. I truly fear the dark place that you have allowed your "mind" to enter.

I find that the only thing TOXIC here is your words, your tongue and your life...try finding one.

Lisa Zarafonetis
Lisa Zarafonetis3 years ago

This is unbelievable! :(

Bruce S.
Bruce S.3 years ago

I thought Mexico dumped all their "garbage" in the U.S. I guess it was only their TOXIC garbage.

Ana R3 years ago

Howard C. i agree with you...
Thanks for the article.

Christine Stewart

I wish they would cover it with dirt, and let the people drive their ATV's all over it- I would rather they drive in a closed landfill than destroy habitat in the desert during their off-road thrill rides...