Recyclable by Nature

Providing a New National Model for Recycling

Recoleccion V.Hermosa

The Junior League of Mexico City

Issue Area(s): environment

Metric of Success: Legislation mandating sorting and separating garbage for recycling. 


In 1995, the Junior League of Mexico City embarked on an ambitious mission to raise public awareness of the serious waste management problem facing one of the world’s largest cities and to galvanize local residents to do something tangible about it. Nine years later, after 25 million milk and juice cartons were recovered, JLM’s Recyclable by Nature program formed the basis of a new law, passed by the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City, that mandates the orderly sorting and separation of garbage prior to collection. 

Community partners

  • Government agencies, including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources
  • Other community partners, including retailers, manufacturers, and nonprofit organizations

How it works

JLMC‘s long-running Recyclable by Nature program has impacted not only its home city but also all of Mexico. By focusing on schoolchildren through the development and implementation of an environmental science curriculum, JLMC was able to harness the energy of students and carry its message to the wider community. JLMC’s initial efforts resulted in the first recycling program in Mexico, which would come to be replicated throughout the nation. Since then, the Recyclable by Nature program has expanded to include a contest that challenges high school students to research and implement projects designed to promote more efficient uses of existing natural resources.

What’s the impact?

The Recyclable by Nature program not only created national awareness of a serious environmental problem but, by creating legislative action, is credited with long-lasting, sustainable change.