Mexico City Proposes Methane Capture System In Giant Landfill

On December 31, 2011, Mexico City closed its giant Bordo Poniente landfill.  What happens next may be an important step in the history of urban solid waste and energy management.

The concrete giant Cemex SAB has agree to buy 3,000 tons daily to turn into energy, Garcia said. The city is seeking other landfills to dump the remaining garbage in smaller amounts while it institutes a new recycling program in the new year.

Built on a dry lake bed partly to handle the rubble from the devastating 1985 earthquake, Bordo Poniente has taken in more than 76 million tons of trash.

Closing the dump will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 2 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to the city government.

Ebrard said the city is implementing strict measures to stop illegal dumping at the site and to process materials into compost. It will also embark next year on a major project to harness the methane gas produced at the dump into energy, he said.

This plan is among a number of attempts around the world to generate energy from landfills. Several entries in the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage (edited by Roosevelt Sustainability Studies Assistant Professor Carl Zimring) discuss the history, present, and future plans of Waste-to-Energy programs. Downtown and online version of Roosevelt University’s seminar SUST 240 Waste are planned for Fall 2012, and it is likely the course will discuss the logistics of these programs. For more information on the seminar or any other of our courses, visit our Sustainability Studies website, call 1-877-277-5978 (1-877-APPLY RU) or email

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