In a public meeting held on June 28, 2016, Aruba’s Members of Parliament unanimously voted in favor of the proposal to ban single-use plastic bags. The law will take effect as of January 1, 2017 where all retailers and vendors will no longer be able to distribute nor sell carry-out plastic bags intended for single-use at the point-of-sale.
The proposal was led by Senator Donald Rasmijn together with Mr. Omar Harms, Advisor at Ministry of General Affairs, and Juliet Carvalhal, Special Coordinator Green Agenda for the Government of Aruba.
The team of the plastic bag ban has estimated Aruba’s use conservatively at approximately 30 million single-use plastic carry-out bags per year. A large percentage of this consumption is derived from the domestic usage, although a certain amount is also induced by the 1.2 million tourists and shopping visitors to Aruba. While cruise visitors will typically take their carry-out bags received back with them aboard, hotel and timeshare guests will characteristically receive and use (retail and grocery) plastic-bags.
The plastic bag ban and its communication strategy have been designed to encourage a mind- and behavioral shift toward increased corporate responsibility on the supply spectrum, and responsible consumerism on the demand spectrum. Managing our waste on islands, especially those heavily dependent on tourism, has been an ongoing challenge. But then again, being an island in itself also presents our community with added motivation to apply concepts of “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Respect” seeing there is limited or practically non-existent access to “Recycling” facilities.
With the campaign strategy, and in designing the basis of the key messages, the significance needed to be broad enough and specific enough to be relatable to all audiences, especially with the diverse cultural backgrounds of its citizens and guests. Moreover, based on a social adoption study conducted by University of Aruba and TNO in households relative to renewable energy adoption rates, it was ascertained that the population and their behavioral habits respond primarily to positive encouragement, hype, enjoyment, patriotism and pride. As such, the key activities and messaging were designed to promote the willingness to adopt the law with a responsible replacement while constructively encouraging a smooth transition.
The implementation approach is set to outsource the campaign activities in order to build capacity within the community hereby maximizing reach, awareness and collaboration. The goal herewith is to, together, create the movement for the mind- and behavioral shift necessary for a 100% adoption result. The common thread herein is that all partners will use the official logo within their respective activities and launch in a coordinated timeline leading to and past January 1, 2017. All partners have thus far enthusiastically agreed to use the official logo of the campaign within their respective activities while also using the common platform to highlight their own social corporate responsibility. It is important that each partner is able to maintain their own brand identity within this synchronized effort while co-branding themselves to the official campaign - this law belongs to us all!
The logo of Aruba’s national campaign and educational platform, with both supply-driven and demand-driven activities, includes the tagline and call-to-action “My bag is Reusable” in Aruba’s local language Papiamento which will be available in English and Spanish to participating stakeholders. With the overwhelmingly positive response thus far within the community, Aruba can be optimistic that the implementation phase will also be well-received!
“Many Small People who in Many Small Places do Many Small Things can Alter the Face of the World”.