The construction of the Azteca Stadium required about 100,000 tons of concrete, roughly the average daily amount of solid waste (i.e., garbage) collected in the country. The National Census of Municipal Governments and Territorial Demarcations, released by the National Institute of Geography and Statistics (INEGI) in 2019, indicates that the daily average of waste collected is 107,055 tons.
This means that each Mexican generates daily, on average, just under a kilogram of garbage, 854 grams to be exact; and for its collection, a monumental effort is required since it is a work that is carried out in 2,269 municipalities or demarcations of the country that have a waste collection service.
According to the most recent data from INEGI, 90,896 people are employed for this work (enough to fill the Azteca Stadium), of which 90% are part of the operational staff and the rest administrative or managerial.
In addition, 16,626 vehicles are used for this work, according to the INEGI census, of which less than a quarter are seven years old or less. To give us an idea of what this number of vehicles implies, it should be noted that in 2013 the vehicle fleet of the Mexican Army was 18,274 units.
There are many ways in which authorities seek to efficiently collect solid waste; thus, for example, the separation of garbage has been promoted or it has been chosen to collect organic waste one day and inorganic waste another, or to use mixed systems.
Finally, to dispose of this waste, there are 102 transfer stations, 501 collection centers, 28 treatment plants and 2,212 final disposal sites in the country.
And despite all this, to keep our cities clean requires an effort from everyone and not only from the authorities; for example, the clean up Mexico for a #MundoSinResiduos initiative, in which the Mexican Coca-Cola Industry (IMCC) and Fundación Azteca participate, reported that in the months of October and November of this 2021 they toured seven entities of the country in which they collected 28 tons of waste (equivalent to the average weight of 14 compact cars, and mainly non-recyclable) with the help of more than 1,900 volunteers.
These actions were carried out in public spaces in Quintana Roo, Oaxaca, Baja California Sur, Jalisco, Nayarit, Mexico City and the State of Mexico, and aim to contribute to achieving a more sustainable and prosperous world.
“We have witnessed the courage and strength that an initiative can have by multiplying efforts. From young people to entire families, all working together for a better planet and a World Without Waste. Working hand in hand with Fundación Azteca and authorities, we have managed to promote a change in the recycling culture of thousands of people and this is just the beginning. As the Mexican Coca-Cola Industry, we will continue to work daily to generate real change,” said Sergio Londoño, Vice President of Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Mexico.
Of the total tons of waste collected with this effort, 94% was non-recyclable waste, such as unicel, plastic utensils, single-use disposables, and the rest to materials such as bottles, plastics, glass, cigarette butts, among others.
And it is that various studies support what was seen in these actions; for example, in September of this year, the Ocean Conservancy published a study that revealed that 69% of the items collected most frequently during the last 35 years of the organization’s international coastal cleanup are not recyclable.
In the case of the PET containers collected, in the days of Limpiemos México for a #MundoSinResiduos it was observed that they only represented 0.55% of the recovered waste, which was transferred to the PetStar and IMER recycling plants for proper recycling. The rest of the waste was catalogued by ECOCE and processed for proper disposal and treatment through local governments.
This initiative is part of the efforts of the Mexican Coca-Cola Industry to achieve the global goal of a World Without Waste, which proposes the recovery and recycling of the equivalent of all its containers sold, in addition to each of them being created with a minimum of 50% recycled materials by 2030.
Achieving a better planet is everyone’s job; from the correct disposal of a container to promoting a culture of recycling for different materials. The IMCC’s commitment to achieving a #MundoSinResiduos is firm, so it will continue to multiply efforts to recover the equivalent of each of its packaging, contributing with actions to the commitments made during COP26, innovating its portfolio (which already integrates 31% of recycled material) and promoting solutions such as returnable packaging, of which today 47% of the Coca-Cola brand portfolio is made up of them.