A more careful consideration of food waste is needed for planning the urban environment. The research signals links between the organization of individuals, the built environment and food waste management through a study conducted in Mexico. It recognizes the different scales within which solid waste management operates, explores food waste production at household levels, and investigates the urban circumstances that influence its management. This is based on the idea that sustainable food waste management in cities requires a constellation of processes through which a ‘people centered’ approach offers added value to technical and biological facts. This distinction addresses how urban systems react to waste and what behavioral and structural factors affect current sanitary practices in Mexico. Food waste is a resource-demanding item, which makes for a considerable amount of refuse being disposed of in landfills in developing cities. The existing data shortage on waste generation at household levels debilitates implementation strategies and there is a need for more contextual knowledge associated with waste. The evidence-based study includes an explorative phase on the culture of waste management and a more in-depth examination of domestic waste composition. Mixed data collection tools including a household based survey, a food waste diary and weighing recording system were developed to enquire into the daily practices of waste disposal in households. The contrasting urban environment of Mexico City Metropolitan Area holds indistinctive boundaries between the core and the periphery, which hinder the implementation of integrated environmental plans. External determinants are different modes of urban transformation and internal determinants are building features and their consolidation processes. At the household level, less and more affluents groups responded differently to external environmental stressors. A targeted planning proposition is required for each group. Local alternative waste management is more likely to be implement in less affluent contexts. Further, more effective demand-driven service delivery implies better integration between the formal and informal sectors. The results show that efforts toward securing long-term changes in Mexico and other cities with similar circumstances require creating synergy between education, building consolidation, local infrastructure and social engagement.