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From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Pago em Lixo is a project launched by the Campolide Parish Council in 2016, as part of its strategy to drive local sustainable development. Recognising that local authorities have an important role to play in promoting the overall wellbeing of its communities, the Campolide Parish Council implemented Pago em Lixo to incentivise residents to adopt positive patterns of behaviour in dealing with household waste, energise the local economy, and strengthen community relations.

To achieve these goals, the Campolide Parish Council created a local currency denominated Lixo (waste) which is handed out to residents in exchange for their previously separated household waste (including paper, glass, plastic and recyclable batteries). The currency can be spent at the approximately 70 participating local businesses, including groceries shops, pharmacies, coffee shops, butchers, bakeries, etc., prompting consumers to invest in the local economy. A local central bank – Campolide Central Bank - was set up by the Parish Council to issue and exchange the local currency. Each unit of the local currency (Lixo, L$) is worth one Euro. Businesses accepting payments in Lixo can also spend it locally or exchange it later for Euros at the Campolide Central Bank.

Pago em Lixo was designed to raise awareness about the environment and the importance of adopting recycling habits. Its appealing features and fresh image are intended to attract resident’s attention, allowing the Parish Council to mitigate knowledge gaps and misconceptions about recycling, which are two of the main barriers to adopting sustainable lifestyles. In seeking to understand how the project works, residents receive information about which materials can and can’t be recycled, how and where to recycle, and the significance of adopting such habits. Interestingly, the project has provoked much media attention. This surge of interest enabled the Campolide Parish Council to explore media platforms to push environmental and recycling issues on the public agenda at the national level. Another central goal of this project is to transform people’s attitudes and behaviours towards waste management. In order to provide people with the necessary conditions and incentives to form good lasting habits, in hope these would also then be transferred into their workplace and public spaces, a local currency was introduced to reward residents who recycle.

The introduction of the local currency is also intended as a mechanism to boost local economy. The amount received by residents in exchange for their separated waste, limited to 20L$ per exchange, can be spent, exclusively, in the participating local businesses, therefore retaining the investment in the community. This scheme encourages people to spend locally and forge new relationships that benefit both the community and the environment.

Finally, the project seeks to bring public administration closer to residents by implicating the latter in the design and implementation of solutions. It prompts participation and its success depends on it. Local economic crisis is a powerful motivator for communities to act in a cooperative fashion. In turn, participation leads into gains for the community. It increases social cohesion and strengthens a sense of belonging, turning into a healthier, more democratic and resilient community.


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Award info
Award category: new solutions to complex challenges - supra-local and local level
Award type: diploma
Award year: 2017
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity:
Keywords: Complementary currency, environmental education, local economy, social cohesion, recycling
Short English description: Pago em Lixo is a project launched by the Campolide Parish Council in 2016, as part of its strategy to drive local sustainable development. Recognising that local authorities have an important role to play in promoting the overall wellbeing of its communities, the Campolide Parish Council implemented Pago em Lixo to incentivise residents to adopt positive patterns of behaviour in dealing with household waste, energise the local economy, and strengthen community relations.
Further information
Organisation: Junta Frequesia Campolie
Other applicants:
Homepage: http://pagoemlixo.pt
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: 50-100
Number of people involved: 6-10
Country: Portugal
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Paid in Waste (38.7259433, -9.162237600000025)
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