The study presented in this paper explores and examines the role of grassroots environmental organisations in promoting schemes aimed at reducing the impact of waste production at a local level. Focusing on the Spanish municipality of Esporles, in the Balearic island of Mallorca, the authors investigate how participatory forums can increase involvement and engagement among residents in the implementation of waste management policies. Esporles introduced and implemented the first unit-pricing (UP) scheme in Spain, making the municipality a countrywide icon of environmental-friendly urban transformation. Due to its success, the scheme quickly became a model for other Spanish municipalities with regard to designing and developing local waste management solutions. Findings from this study demonstrate how increasing participation and involvement of local residents in public consultations and debates can effectively support the design and implementation of more sustainable waste management policies. In addition, findings illustrate how local authorities can empower residents in transforming urban environment through changing their behaviours and practices towards waste management. The role of grassroots environmental organisations appears important with regard to developing innovative instruments and delivering effective environmental policies to address waste management at a local level, and to achieve sustainable urban transformation.