Reducing the use of plastic bags

Handelens Miljøfond

Insights to change consumer behaviour

Handelens Miljøfond, Norway’s largest private environmental fund, works to reduce plastic pollution, increase plastic recycling and reduce the consumption of plastic bags. As part of this mission, they have asked EGGS to help explore what can be done to help people reduce their use of plastic shopping bags. The result is an extensive report on customers’ behaviour, motivation, and suggestions for action that can change it.

Plastic pollution is a serious, worldwide problem, and reducing people’s use of single-use plastic bags is one way of tackling the problem. Handelens Miljøfond is an organisation for Norwegian retail businesses that invests in projects that reduce plastic use and plastic pollution and increase recycling of plastic.

Need to understand behaviour to change it

To understand how we can design for a behaviour change, we need to understand the current behaviour first. Why are people using plastic bags? What are their drivers? When, why, and how do they use them? What contextual barriers hinder desired behaviour? And when, why, and how do they choose an alternative instead? By answering these questions, we can create a solid foundation to base suggestions for actions and strategies to reduce the use of plastic bags.

In the insight work, we included users of different ages. We also ensured that we gathered insight both from people in urban areas as well as in the countryside since there might be differences in consumer behaviour.

Extensive and profound insight

We have used a combination of qualitative interviews, desktop research, and observations through user diary studies. The user interviews and diary studies (where users kept detailed records of their purchases, experiences, and use of plastic bags or their alternatives) gave us insights into when, why, and how they chose to use plastic bags. It also gave us insight into what might trigger this use – and what can nudge them to opt for other alternatives. Through the desktop research, we gathered information about current regulations and trends related to plastic use and the consumer market.

In the diary study, we followed four different families with children. They filled out a questionnaire for every shopping event over the length of the diary study. They shared their views about their purchases, what bags they used, why, how they experienced the shopping situation.

Concrete suggestions for action

Based on the research, we developed a knowledge report. Handelens Miljøfond and their members can use this to help design and transform customers’ shopping experience to help reduce consumers’ use of plastic bags and increase reuse. It contains concrete suggestions to interventions, initiatives, and actions such as:

  • Redesign of self-checkout cashiers to reduce promotion and accessibility to plastic bags and redesign the shops reusable shopping bags with attention to aesthetics (i.e., making them fashionable).

  • Change in tone of voice and communication between shops, regulatory institutions, and consumers to nudge and cheer for reuse alternatives.

  • Campaigns and infographics to inform and nudge consumers to remember to bring reuse alternatives.

  • An independent, digital knowledge hub for transparent, trusted, and recognized facts on the environmental impact of single-use plastic, plastic bags, and alternatives.

  • Nudging and reward concepts to motivate consumers to choose and remember to bring alternatives to single-use plastic bags.

The extensive knowledge report contains concrete suggestions to interventions, initiatives.

Sounds interesting?

Mons Alexander  Langaard

Have a chat with our Lead Business Designer
Mons Alexander Langaard
+47 478 88 266

Jan Walter Parr

Let's talk to Chief Creative Officer
Jan Walter Parr
+47 908 54 339

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