Mexico City’s 22 million people discovered change is not that simple. In Depth Elizabeth Villagómez Cruz rarely runs afoul of the “Five Rs” of zero-waste living—refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot—no matter what it takes. One day while traveling, she was craving esquites , a common snack sold by street vendors throughout Mexico, made of corn kernels in a cup with salsa and mayonnaise. She refused a Styrofoam cup from the vendor and was without a reusable container after her dogs chewed up the one she normally carries in her car. But the vendor came up with a creative solution. “The gentleman, in order to make the sale, went and asked another vendor who sold tamales for a plantain leaf … and gave me my esquites in a plantain leaf,” says Villagómez, who founded Zero Market México, a chain of stores in Mexico City that cater to the zero-waste lifestyle. She says this episode is the perfect illustration of uniquely Mexican, ingenious solutions to reducing waste. “I believe those who want to help the environment can come up with a creative solution in a country like ours,” Villagómez says. The greater Mexico City metropolitan area is home to nearly 22 […]

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