Tackling Plastics

Israel suffers from a grave plastic crisis! The country uses approximately 4.5 billion disposable plates and utensils every year, second only to the US. Tel Aviv has 3rd most plastic polluted coastline among all Mediterranean cities. A major contributor to plastic problem is Israel is the use of single-use plastic in the retail industry. In 2017, the government imposed a fine of 0.10 NIS per bag which brought down the use by >70%, but the residual usage is still substantial. Only 23% of plastic bags used for carrying groceries are recycled leading to an ignorable level of plastic pile-up in landfills and open spaces. The goal of the project is to encourage consumers to increase reusing the plastic bags handed out at the grocery checkouts to bring down the eventual amount of plastic consumption. 

Our hypothesis: We can make consumers re-use single-use plastic bags at grocery checkouts by putting a visual prompt on the bag.


Rationale: Our idea is derived from basic principles of behavioral marketing. Multiple experiments have demonstrated that consumers are likely to adopt sustainable behaviors including waste disposal, energy usage, and recycling when presented with clear prompts or messages at the site of action. Having the visual/textual symbol printed on the bag will induce a cognitive dissonance within the consumer leading them to reduce usage over time. Based on the previously performed similar interventions, we expect to reduce the number of plastic bags taken at check-out of grocery stores by 20-30% over a month



1. To partner with local players of the Tel Aviv retail industry (grocery, pharmacy, etc.)

2. Conduct a one/two-month-long pilot project involving:

 2.1 Handing out the single-use plastic bags with the messaging during checkout

 2.2 Awareness campaign to encourage consumers to reuse the bags.

3. Data gathering and analysis

4. Presentation of the data to local governing bodies for wider adoption of similarly designed bags.