Can it

William Booth, who covers Mexico for the Washington Post, recently contacted me and asked if I would be willing to talk trash with him. He was preparing a story about garbage in Mexico City. The amusing and informative results can be found if you click here.

I told him that when foreigners arrive in the city, one of the first idiosyncrasies we observe is how few trash cans there are. I have walked for what feels like forever with a used Kleenex or toothpick in my hand, fruitlessly searching for a place in which to get rid of it. I have taken to putting them in my pockets until I get home.


However, Booth told me about a pilot project in which 1,200 trash cans had been installed on the streets of the Centro Histórico. I told him I was skeptical of such a high number. But a couple of days later, while walking in that neighborhood, I noticed that there were suddenly as many as three garbage cans on a single side of a street.

Then I realized that they are popping up in other neighborhoods as well -- in well-to-do areas, in any case. They look like the photo above – double-barreled, for organic and inorganic materials. (Sorry for the poor quality of the image.)


Some of them, like this one, seem to have been installed improperly and have slipped from their moorings.


In other parts of the city, old-fashioned mores still flourish.