Tesco, Unforgettable Bags

By adding a unique barcode to a simple plastic bag, Tesco incentivized reusing them, raising awareness about plastic ocean pollution.

Malaysians use on average 300 plastic bags per year, 9 billion bags in total, the vast majority are single use. Tesco Malaysia halved the number of single-use plastic bags between 2011 and 2017, but the rate of reduction is not fast enough. Other Tesco's, like the UK, have already banned single-use, but Malaysian education and attitudes lag behind. Tesco needed to accelerate the reduction of single-use bags and position their brand as a leading sustainability champion with the goal of building a path to total ban by 2020.

This project is about creating behaviour change on a mass scale. Instead of punishing people for forgetting to bring a bag, Tesco decided to reward them for bringing them back. They made a simple change to the design, a barcode, which transformed each bag into an ongoing discount and thus, an ongoing reward that actively changed behaviour. Through the designs, the bags also educated customers on the impact plastic bags have on the environment. The bags are now in all 56 stores throughout Malaysia.