Let’s pick up the furniture in the city!

Sabadell City Hall                                      Contact:                                                          Anna Puiggròs Xirinachs                          Email: apuiggros@ajsabadell.cat                  Raquel Iglesias Pareja                      Email: riglesias@ajsabadell.cat 

Website: http://www.sabadell.cat/            Address: Servei de Recollida i Tractament de Residus i Neteja Viària 93 745 33 28 ext. 5526, C/ Ferrer de Blanes, 25 08203 Sabadell 

References: more info you can find here.

WHERE: Sabadell, Spain; 
WHEN: since 2017
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention – Replacement and Reduction
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, information, awareness raising and Regulatory / normative
WASTE STREAMS: Municipal, Waste electrical and electronic equipment

WHERE: Sabadell, Spain; 
WHEN: since 2017
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention – Replacement and Reduction
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, information, awareness raising and Regulatory / normative
WASTE STREAMS: Municipal, Waste electrical and electronic equipment

About: Sabadell is a city with 207.000 inhabitants, thus makes the waste collection service as one of the most essential services of the city. Sorting is done through a 5 fractions system, which distinguish among organic, paper, glass, general containers (cans, plastic bottles, carton, etc.) and waste. All this household waste is contained in street bins. However, the city experiences an important problem with all that household waste which doesn’t fit in any specific sorting bin, due to its size or its material. As a consequence, several objects and small appliances are abandoned on the street and collected by the waste service. At the end of 2017 the waste department decided to start a small communication campaign to reduce the amount of objects and small appliances left on the street.


The campaign was based on the creation of stickers to be stuck on the street bins. Each sticker informed about what to do with all the objects, furniture and small appliances that don’t have a place in the bins.
In this sense, the waste department provided a free service to remove all those household items out of order from the citizen’s house. As well as, to reduce their waste tax.


1. Knowhow The campaign addresses the problem of bulky waste management (appliances, furniture, etc.). The objective is to collect and recycle these waste with the help of citizens.
2. Funding; The campaign had a cost of 10.678€ which included the elaboration of the stickers and the distribution in 1400 (approx.) collection points.
3. Material resources. Stickers exclusively designed for the campaign.
4. Human resources. Waste collection service. External services for the stickers design and its distribution.
5.Period of implementation: The stickers were stuck on the street bins by the end of the year 2017.


Although the action implementation is quite new, first statistical results confirm the success of the campaign.
In 2017, the citizens left on the street 78.555 items on the street, while the items picked up from their houses due to a phone call to the service provided were 15.830; the total number of phone calls to the service was 1.089. In 2018, the citizens left on the street a total number of items of 67.942, with 17.548 picked up after 1.398 calls to the service. Citizens have called to the service 28% more than the previous year before the campaign. The sum of items abandoned on the street has decreased 13,5% while the percentage of items picked up at citizen’s houses have raised 10,8%.

Urban metabolism relevance

The waste management legislation has the challenge of stimulating the transition of municipalities to a circular economy, which promotes the sustainable economic growth of cities. To ensure that, one of the proposals is to reduce the generation of waste. In order to obtain high results of waste collection, recovery and recycling, it is important to directly involve the citizen. With the practice developed in Sabadell, the citizen is the main and initial actor to achieve the goal. Reducing and managing this waste in a proper way will directly influence the material flows of the city in a positive manner and will reduce the ecological footprint.


The innovative character of the campaign is mainly based in their simplicity, that allowed to obtain good results with limited effort. Campaign is based in a previous detailed monitoring that was only based in the number of demanded services for bulky waste collection. Action was addressed to reduce them and at the same time, increase people awareness to reduce the release of this kind of waste.

Engaged participatory processes

Considering that citizens play a crucial role in the development of a sustainable city, the awareness campaign is aimed at all citizens to change their habits in the generation and management of waste. At the same time, the citizen who collaborates is awarded with a reduction of taxes destined to waste management. All those citizens who have used the furniture collection service and have removed the bulky waste a minimum of two times in different months, obtain a 5% discount on the waste tax.

This 5% can be cumulative with other tax benefits. 10% granted to people who accredit of 4 to 8 entries of waste in the municipal blue points (waste facilities for the collection of waste without collection points across city); and 20% granted to those people who demonstrate 9 or more entries of waste in them. Thanks to that people is engaged to participate by obtaining the referred benefits.

Sustainability and replicability

At both the local and regional levels, effective strategies are being carried out to promote public awareness about waste prevention and to reduce the generation of specific types of waste. As in Sabadell, other cities also have problems with bulky waste (appliances, furniture, etc.). The methodology selected by the City Council has been developed with the help of advisors and waste management companies that have studied the urban and social ecosystem of the city to make it effective. One of the advantages that is practical and effective at low cost and is inclusive, since it involves all citizens.

The campaign is in an initial phase that has already given good quantitative results. This has an unlimited continuity since the collection of this type of waste is permanent, not only in Sabadell but also in other surrounding cities. To have a more fixed quantitative results it is necessary to calculate the collection and recycling rates finally obtained in a larger period of time.

Success Factors

The success of the campaign has been based in the powerful of the message: Free (GRATUÏTA) allowed to get attention of citizens and revealed the limited effort required by them: just a phone call. Hence, residents could react immediately and make a correct management of this waste, that at the same time induced a direct result visible in the city.


Waste, Resources, Innovation.

Key Challenges

The key challenge adopted by the action was to change the common focus of the environmental campaign. Commonly, messages often take the form of mass media campaigns and are disseminated by many different channels, such as television, radio, social media, etc. In the proposed action, citizens watched the stickers where the problem was being generated. Indirectly, people identified themselves as the source and the solution for the problem.


For more information, please check the deliverable, or contact the implementing body.

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