Saying no to ‘Say No’ campaigns – Tackling Thailand’s plastic bag drawback

Some timid however long overdue steps at the moment are being taken in the path of decreasing Thailand’s plastic waste. Baby steps to start with but there is no doubt that the issue has now entered the Thai national psyche. In response, thus far, Thai companies have, for the most half, made only cursory PR efforts at tackling the bigger problem but, once more, it’s a begin.
Take, for example, a big Thai purchasing centre chain proudly asserting that it’ll ‘ask’ prospects as soon as a month in the occasion that they really need a plastic bag for his or her buying. Useless. Meanwhile the plastic baggage proceed to walk out of their outlets by the millions every month (including on the ONE day) and find yourself as single-use plastic bags filling up the restricted land-fills or swishing around the surrounding seas. Their ‘alternative’ is to sell expensive canvas baggage to shoppers, for 200-400 baht.
The authorities meanwhile is dithering with the difficulty of plastic waste, with no concrete laws or solutions that can have any long-term impression. Even with the clear and current danger of air pollution in many regions, including the capital, there has been finger-pointing and head-shaking however no helpful campaigns or adjustments of legal guidelines that may have a helpful or sustainable have an result on on bettering Thailand’s air high quality.
But how do you change a generation’s mindset? How do you cease 1,000,000 people a day shopping for espresso and drinks in a plastic cup, with a plastic lid, inside a plastic carry bag, and a plastic straw?
Around the world, analysis shows that worry or shock tactics, or methods based mostly on shame, guilt and adverse wording, are generally ineffective and can even find yourself having the reverse effect.
“Say NO” and concern campaigns are only efficient supplied that the target market is already taking optimistic steps towards the specified behavioural change. In Thailand that could additionally be a good distance from the present scenario.
Campaigns not only need to explain the issue, but also present simple recommendation on what do to about it. Saying ‘NO’ does nothing to empower individuals with the reasons to vary and the options out there. There is Shocking of failed ‘Say No’ campaigns for issues as diverse as illicit drugs, smoking, pain killers and plastic baggage around the globe.
Take for instance the “Hey Tosser!”, run by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority in Australia back in 2015. The marketing campaign was based mostly on naming and shaming, principally ineffective in a western culture and doomed to failure in a tradition like Thailand the place saving ‘face’ is paramount.

Encouraging the common public to shame “tossers” (a play on words in Australia where ‘tosser’ is a derogatory nickname in addition to a description of what they are doing with their garbage), creates an unhelpful stereotype that doesn’t truly exist – folks don’t see themselves as the issue.
Author and social behaviour change professional Les Robinson suggests that somewhat than try to scare or disgrace folks into altering habits, it’s extra useful to create a constructive buzz around the change – create new behaviours which are simple to adopt and maintain, foster supportive activities, groups and options that change habits, inform and entertain.
So if we need to tackle littering and cut back plastic bag use we should make folks really feel that they are a half of an inclusive movement that is supported by their friends, community and government. And it must be related to their lives.
Is it sustainable? Is it do-able? Is there an reasonably priced alternative? If not, then telling individuals NOT to do one thing (like using less plastic bags) is a waste of time and simply alienates them from the trigger.
The CP group (the homeowners of Thailand’s 7-Eleven chain) say they have the (rather optimistic) plan of getting rid of plastic bag use inside ten years.
The campaign has been supported by Artiwara “Toon” Kongmalai, the lead singer of Bodyslam and marathon runner, who ran from Thailand’s south to north in a large fund-raiser final year. Massively well-liked in Thailand as a role model, singer, movie star and runner, Toon has been a big part of elevating the consciousness of this campaign inside the Thai community. But the plastic baggage politely refused by keen clients are still a tiny fraction of Thailand’s complete plastic bag problem.

Tesco Lotus, too, jumped on the feel-good PR bandwagon and announced it would exchange handing out plastic bags, for in the future in November final yr. Just in the future with no plans or announcements to deal with the chain’s ongoing contribution to Thailand’s plastic bag problem.
Thailand’s plastic bag drawback, a giant drawback certainly, needs options from the highest, down. At this time those messages aren’t coming from the top however from the ground up – a fragmented group of people and well-meaning associations which are using a wave of concern for the problem and, in many instances, pushing their very own cause..

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