Zero Waste Movement Zero Desperdício Associação DariAcordar


The Zero Waste movement was created in 2011 with the objective of fixing the fact that 50,000 meals used to go straight in the bin every day, while 360,000 people went hungry in Portugal.    

4 years later:

  • The equivalent of 3.6 million meals have been distributed across 17 regions;
  • Lisbon Town Hall has set itself the goal of becoming a zero-waste city;
  • A book collection specifically designed for kids between the ages of 6 and 9 has been edited and distributed free of charge to all primary, public schools in three cities. With the support of two Foundations, the project has escalated nationwide and the book collection has entered the National Reading Plan and is available for free in digital and audio.

This movement aroused the interest of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), which presented it as a case study and example of good practice in its December 2013 publication, which was dedicated to food waste, and is considering the possibility of replicating the model for other countries.

Context in 2011: everyday, meals are prepared that are leftover and taken by no one – in the canteens of businesses, supermarkets, restaurants, schools, etc. The economic crisis is contributing decisively and unsurprisingly to the number of people going hungry in Portugal. The numbers show that more than 360,000 people have nothing to eat. However, it is estimated that more than 50,000 meals are wasted every day across the country. This is the reason for the “Zero Waste” movement, which J. Walter Thompson Lisbon has been a part of since the beginning.

The Zero Waste Movement, in this first phase, proposes that the community start taking advantage of all the food that previously ended up in the bin – food that has never left the kitchen or that is nearing its sell by date – sending it to the hungry or doing something individually or collectively for others in this area. The Zero Waste Food Movement can only be made possible if those who have leftovers are willing to donate them to those in need. Thus, we ask all restaurant, coffee shop, canteen, super or hypermarket owners to take the first step and give away their leftover meals and help those who need them, and take part in the Zero Waste Food movement. This movement is national. It will only work, however, when it becomes second nature and naturally accepted as a common rule of conduct.

We would like to contribute to a fairer society and a better quality of life for the disadvantaged or those at risk of social exclusion, and every leftover that is in perfect condition, that for some is a waste, for others is a necessity. This movement is an excellent of civics / citizenship and individual and collective social solidarity that is intended to be taken as an example to be replicated, demonstrating that something very concrete can be produced by the community. 

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