Brazilian City Offers Vegetables in Exchange for Trash

By Stephen Messenger, TreeHugger

In many urban centers throughout the world, vibrant waste recycling programs aren’t just eco-minded niceties, they serve an essential role in keeping communities clean and clutter-free. But thanks to one forward-thinking initiative in the Brazilian city of Jundiaí, trading in trash has never been tastier.

Ten years ago, the city’s Municipal Utilities department launched “Delicious Recycling,” a program aimed at encouraging residents to get into the habit of collecting recyclable waste in exchange for fresh vegetables, grown locally in a public-run garden — and boy did it take off! Today, the garden boasts more than 30 thousand plants to meet the demand of thousands of veggie-loving recyclers, turning aluminum cans and plastic bottles into edible greens.

Ultimately, the program has done wonders for the health of the environment as well, by ridding the city of improperly disposed waste.

“What once cluttered and even choked the flow of water from storm drains is today used as currency for healthy food,” local mayor Miguel Haddad tells Jundiaí Online. “Everybody wins with this.”

As innovative as Jundiaí’s “Delicious Recycling” may seem, it’s actually not the first of its kind, but given the program’s success, it’s no wonder why. Though a number of other Brazilian municipalities offer similar incentives to reward recyclers with food, the idea seems to be catching internationally — like in Mexico City, where residents recently exchanged trash for nearly three tons of vegetables!


Rethinking Latin America’s Largest Landfill
‘Garbage People’ in Cairo Recycle 80% of Trash They Find
Redefining Waste


Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago


Klaus Peters
Klaus Peters4 years ago

The less we put into land fill the better we can deal with pollution and climate change.

Loesje vB
Loesje Najoan4 years ago

This is a great idea!!! :)

Jane R.
Jane R.4 years ago

This is a great idea! I wish it would be done in the U.S. Here we have trucks that pick up recyclables but the citizens get nothing in return. I do believe in recycling & I do it, however it would be wonderful if we got something in return.

Lauren Weinstock
Lauren Weinstock4 years ago

Love, love, love this. If only people could be motivated to do more in terms of recycling and then we attach the packaging issue...

Meg Graham
Meg G.4 years ago

Love lateral thinking.

Andrea Ornelas
Andrea Ornelas4 years ago


Winnie Rosaline
Winnie Rosaline4 years ago

Awesome idea!

stephanie l.
Steph l.4 years ago

Bloody amazing!!