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Challenge / Goal

Using the local market as a test bed the SSA sought to explore new solutions for waste management in the city. It aimed to answer the following questions: 

  • Is it possible to create a zero-waste market in Famalicão & is it economically viable?
  • What kind of social, environmental, and economic impact can we generate with these circular initiatives?
  • Can we provide circular solutions with different applications (composting; textile and footwear industries; bioconstruction)?
  • Do we have partners interested in the waste produced in the market?
  • Do the quantities produced in the market meet the needs of the stakeholders? How will the waste be managed/collected?
  • Can this model focussed on the market be replicated in other facilities e.g. schools within the city?
  • Can a Zero Waste market act as a catalyst for the development of innovative solutions and business focussed on the waste generated in the market (e.g. shoes made with coffee grounds; natural dyed shirts with onion peels; a wardrobe made with fruit wood boxes; reusable boxes made with recycled/upcycled plastics) through the promotion of collaboration between local producers and other stakeholders (e.g. entrepreneurs & research centres).


As part of their ongoing efforts and ambition to advance the transition towards a more circular economic model, the city of Vila Nova de Famalicão decided to test the feasibility & effectiveness of a Zero Waste Market. 

The idea was developed by the members of the URBACT Local Group (ULG). During the course of several meetings, ULG members agreed on the potential of the local market as a “laboratory” to test new solutions and to implement different circular activities, while involving the market clients, market operators and the ULG members themselves. Using the market as platform the action sought to tackle three specific challenges namely, waste prevention, resource recovery and education: Eliminating unnecessary waste (e.g. banning disposable coffee cups & plastic bags) & replacing them with sustainable options (e.g. refillable coffee cups; compostable & reusable bags); 

Recovering & reusing market waste to its full potential, even before the recycling process (e.g. turning the market plastic waste as a resource for circular material/products); Shifting the “old paradigm mindset” of market clients & vendors into a sustainable/circular approach. 

Solutions tested included: “Circular Cabinet” - a repurposed cabinet placed in the market, where market users can both collect and deposit things like bags, jars, cardboard boxes, egg cartons, which can then be used for their shopping in the market. This initiative sought to help change consumer habits by promoting a “buy in bulk” approach, while bringing attention to the importance of reducing waste resulting from product packaging.

A waste management workshop for market vendors - developed in partnership with RESINORTE, which focused on waste reduction and the optimization of recycling habits. “Circular Market” – a series of on-site workshops for diverse audiences - from senior citizens to school children, designed to sensitize the community to a circular perspective, demonstrating how things previously considered waste are in fact valuable resources. From vinyl records turned into clocks, to crochet work that can be made into a lamp - recycling, reusing and repurposing are key words. Local partners supported the development of activities that focused on reducing food waste, the repair of small appliances, composting, as well as a webinar about circular economy and an exhibition where products and services from local companies and startups were showcased.

Citizen participation



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Time period

Implementation time: 6 months to 1 year


Famalicão em Transição; Refood Academic: CIOR; Private: Resinorte; Life in a Bag; Revolução das minhocas; Reciclagem Orgânica; Minority Denim; Recoffee; Alexandra Arnóbio Upcycling Projects; ECOnnect Portugal; Earthship

Service providers

Municipio de Vila Nova de Famalicão

End users

All citizens

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