Circularity in Mexico

With the help of our partner Studio de la O, we’ve put together a brief summary of the difference that circular design could make in Mexico. Scroll on to take a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing this region.

Many voices, one vision


In Mexico there are latent efforts and initiatives that advocate for a circular way of living, but the scope remains narrow. New projects struggle to get off the ground because they lack funding and support. But even with stronger policies and investment programmes, a better understanding of the circular economy across society is needed. For example, there is a common misconception that circularity is first and foremost about recycling. When in reality, it represents just one aspect of a circular society. If we can generate more consensus around what circularity means at all levels (political, industrial, business, social, academic, economic) , it will be easier to implement real and lasting change. As storytellers and facilitators, designers can play a major role in this effort.

There is also an opportunity for creative entrepreneurs to influence national regulations for how things are produced. The establishment of a common framework could increase transparency throughout the supply chain. It could also help facilitate collaboration between industries, individual companies, and the government, encouraging them to tackle problems together.


What cannot be measured, cannot be changed

When it comes to food and consumer goods, there is a lack of traceability in the production process. Supply chains are often long and there is little trust in data, which makes it very difficult to pinpoint problems, let alone solve them. This creates a lot of inefficiency and missed opportunities. For example: nearly 28 million people in Mexico are living in food poverty. At the same time, more than 37% of all food produced is lost or wasted. How can designers help change this? Could better infrastructure and communication make food production more sustainable and accessible those who need it?

Another way of packaging

Today, packaging is all about branding. Consumers have learned to look for a special and premium experience through a product’s packaging. This leads to the excessive and mixed use of materials, often making proper disposal more difficult. Another issue is that single-use plastic packaging is perceived as a way to guarantee hygiene, something which has become more important to the public since the pandemic. Designers are in a unique position to develop alternative materials for packaging, using locally available resources like waste from the agricultural sector. The great variety of plants and other organisms existing in Mexico can be useful to innovate bio-manufacturing processes.

Reuse in building

There is already strong interest amongst Mexican architects and builders to be more sustainable, making it likely that they will be keen to embrace circularity. Mexico ranked 9 in the Top 10 Countries and Regions for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in 2021. But at the same time, in Mexico City, nearly 14,000 tons of construction and demolition waste are generated each day. The trouble is that secondary materials are usually more expensive than raw materials, which leads to high volumes of waste in landfills. For designers and architects there is an opportunity to encourage practices like adaptive reuse, especially in the country’s urban centres.


To accelerate Mexico’s transition to a circular society, we must bend the line where it matters most. Here are some key opportunities to consider:




  • What if you could make food chains shorter by forging new connections between small producers and big enterprises?

  • How could you entice consumers to reject single-use packaging, by making returnable and refillable products more attractive?

  • How could you stimulate building methods that prioritise local materials, resources and techniques?

  • What can you do to encourage synergy among different industries so that one’s waste becomes another’s raw material?