Plaza Ecológica Ciudad Jardín
In 2007, Wal-Mart de Mexico invested more than 640 million pesos ($57 million USD) to turn the former Neza 1 Waste Dump, in Netzahualcóyotl, into the country's first ecological shopping center called the Plaza Ecológica Ciudad Jardín.
It all started with the cleaning of the 10-hectare (approximately 25 acres) waste dump, which for years had stored trash more than 15 meters deep. To clean the area, workers extracted approximately 208,000 cubic meters of garbage and moved it to the Tultitlán Sanitary Fill. There, a bio-gas burning process converted the waste into viable, usable sources of energy for the surrounding community. Then, three thousand tons of ash and lime were poured onto the site to create a more stable surface for the shopping center. This process also stopped decomposition and prevented the generation of methane gas, keeping this greenhouse gas — which is 20 times more potent than CO2 — from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global climate change. Today, the new state-of-the-art facility features a number of energy- and water-saving technologies such as water treatment plants to support plant life, rainwater reutilization systems and waterless urinals. The shopping center's units are fitted with fiberoptic and LED systems that optimize lighting to save energy. Additionally, the stores reuse refrigeration heat and recycle shrink wrap and cardboard. As the home of a Walmart supercenter, a Sam's Club, and Vips and El Portón restaurants, the center also generated roughly 1,500 jobs for the local community.
As Raúl Argüelles, Wal-Mart de Mexico's senior vice president of corporate affairs and people, said at the shopping center's opening last May, "We've turned an ecological liability, like the former Neza dump, into a social, urban and economic asset whose benefits will be enjoyed by Ciudad Netzahualcóyotl families. Wal-Mart de Mexico confirms our social responsibility and sustainability efforts through actions such as these that help improve the quality of life of Mexican families."