That's why the local government has launched several measures to reduce the waste created by the 20 million people who call the city home.

The Mercado de Trueque began in March this year and has proved an instant hit with residents.

Jose Luis Aranda is one of thousands of locals who are now making regular visits to the market held once a month in the city's Chapultepec Park. Along with his housemates, Aranda brings along glass, plastic and cardboard waste, which is separated and weighed. He is then given vouchers, which can be exchanged at a nearby farmers' market.

The vendors at the market hail from local farms, adding the benefit of attracting shoppers to locally produced food.

For Aranda, it's not just about buying vegetables to eat. He also picks up baby lettuce plants, which he plans to grow at home and sell at the market when he visits again.

If he does, it would bring the city's plan full circle, essentially turning trash into food.

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