Recently, HOY by Havas Colombia was shortlisted for their ‘Teaching Bags’ initiative at the Festival of Media LATAM Awards, which worked with retail brand Metro to draw attention to the environmental problem caused by plastic. Their work was shortlisted in the ‘Best Campaign Led by Cause’ category. Hear more about the campaign in Dare! from Diego Tovar, Executive Creative Director at Havas Village Colombia.
Can you talk about the current state of recycling in Colombia?
Ours is a country that doesn’t do very well when it comes to recycling. We’ve spent several years without cultural acceptance of recycling, and even though in the past 5 to 10 years, efforts have been made to fix the problem, we’re still only recycling about 12% – 16% of all waste produced in Colombia.
What stops people from recycling?
The efforts made by public institutions have been frequent, but irregular, and they all have a common way of trying to reach audiences. The educational effort comes the same way, done as a masterclass, without finding a meaningful way to make people care about the problem. There haven’t been any methods or culture established yet; with every new mayor, every new president, the method changes, killing the opportunity for people to adopt a recycling culture.
How did this campaign encourage recycling?
Just as Teaching Bags was being implemented, a national recycling law was instated, and despite it being a confusing law (using different colors for different kinds of waste), it was enforced fiercely, creating a social problem and a strong reluctance towards recycling. Amid this context, we managed to encourage recycling by making the law clear for everybody, repurposing the vehicle Colombians use to recycle, one that is present in their day-to-day lives: the plastic bag.
What were the results you saw from the campaign?
Metro’s teaching bags was introduced as a packaging option for e-commerce purchases. Given the option, thousands of families chose to have their groceries delivered in the same bag that they were supposed to classify and recycle afterwards. Positive sentiment towards the brand spiked, as we gave Colombians not only a clear way to help the planet, but also the tools and the information they needed to understand and apply a confusing recycling law.
What does it mean to you to be shortlisted in the FOMLA?
It is a huge honor that is also proof of what meaningful ideas are capable of. Teaching Bags was a low-budget idea that was simple and well executed in design. Yet it became a part of people’s daily routines and made it simpler for them to adopt a recycling method in their households.