top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

‘Free shops’ to be rolled out in France after successful trial

The zero-waste concept is said to be unique in France and run by a waste management union

They are designed like regular supermarkets with categorised aisle; the concept is ‘give, take and recycle’ Pic: Screenshot -

A new concept of an ‘inverted supermarket’, where people can drop off old items and take new ones away for free, is to be rolled out more widely.

The first ‘Smicval market’, named after the local union in charge of waste management, opened in Vayres (Gironde) in 2017. 

Smicval claims the market’s ‘give, take and recycle’ concept to be unique in France.

Seven smaller versions have opened nearby and there are plans to launch three larger ones along the same lines as the original location by 2026.

Read more: How to recycle in France: Seven common questions answered

Read more: Repair Cafés: a way to save broken items from the bin in France

Organised like a supermarket 

They are designed like regular supermarkets (just without food products), where items are organised into different aisles and an outside area for drivers to unload unwanted objects.

Smicval reports a fall of 1,000 tonnes of waste, with around 10,000 objects dropped off per year. 

Costs of the sites are financed by the waste tax collected by the union.

Odile Felloneau, PR manager at Smicval, said: “I think people have understood what is at stake with the planet.

“There is also a strong demand from people looking to use free objects.”

She cited users hoping to renovate a bathroom or offer toys to children. 

Similar concepts are in place in Corsica and Châteaubernard (Charente).

Related articles

French town to become first in Europe to recycle used water

How can I get rid of an old mobile phone in France without binning it?

Our green home made from tyres is part of us, says family in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France