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Less plastic, more opportunities


ico ambiente internaPhnom PenhReducing plastic bag waste in major cities in Cambodia



Cities of Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap


From May 1st 2014 to August 31st 2017





The project aims to reduce the use and the improper waste disposal of plastic bags in 3 main urban centres of Cambodia.
The planned activities will be done following three main actions:

  • Identification of one or more alternatives to the usage of plastic bags and the adoption of measures to insert vendors in markets and to convince buyer to adopt these new solutions; new solutions will be identified using the “human centered design” methodology.
  • The planning and the launch of a communication campaign to produce a change in consumer behaviour and habits.
  • The support to Ministry of Environment to develop a common politic strategy at a National and a local level that could promote the adoption of innovative and alternative solutions previously identified and the change in consumer behaviours as a result of a well-thought Behaviour Change Campaign.




From a general point of view, the project aims to the promotion of sustainable growth and environmental sustainability in Cambodia.

Specific objective of the intervention is to change consumption patterns and consumer behaviours to reduce plastic bag use and waste in major Cambodian cities.



  • Market research on profiling key consumer groups about behaviours in using plastic bags.
  • Definition, production, diffusion of a communication campaign finalized to promote a new sensibility  on the tematic of improper disposal of plastic bags  and a change in consumer behaviour.
  • In-depth analysis of the most environmentally damaging uses of plastic bags, for which alternative wrappers or packaging systems need to be developed more urgently.
  • Design and production of a prototype of alternative solutions to plastic bags.
  • Creation and strengthening of early adopters' groups of SMEs envolved in production and distribuition of identified alternatives.
  • Adoption of promotion mechanisms of the identified alternatives.
  • Identification of costs and damages derived from the improper disposal of plastic bags at a National level.
  • Drafting, through multi-stakeholder workshops and a visit to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, of guidelines at a national level to support the manage the problem of improper plastic bag disposal.
  • Translation of drafted guidelines identified at national level into measures to develop into municipalities.




SMEs and low-income artisans will be involved in the supply chain of alternatives to plastic bags.anno.
The communication campaign finalized to a change in consumer behaviour and habits and to the adoption of alternative wrapper to plastic bag will reach:

  • 1 million women
  • 200,000 school children
  • 150.000 University students
  • 12,000 vendors/SMEs in markets
  • 6,000 street stalls

The inhabitants of  Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville e Siem Reap, that will benefit from:

  • a 50% decrease in plastic bag selliong in the target areas;
  • a 60% decrease in the of the amount of plastic waste dumped in landfills in the 3 major Cambodian cities;
  • a 80%  reduction in the amount of plastic bags improperly disposed.




La The sustainability and effectiveness of the project will be furthered, at different levels, by developing the scheduled activities on three complementary key actions. With regard to the first key action, the identification of eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to plastic bags, the choice of market solutions will guarantee sustainibility in time; the identified alternative should be affordable and better to  use  than a plastic bag, aside from other actions discouraging the use of plastic bag. These characteristic will let this alternative wrapper to be competitive on the market.  
Institutional sustainibility will be granted tanks to the interest in the theme, which found expression in some local communication campaings, and in the involvement of institutional actors which could access to quantitative and qualitative studies planned in the project to evaluate the most effective measures in the field of study of new law tools.
Finally, the third key action is the development of a communication campaign to change in consumer  behaviour  and its sustainibility will be granted from the activities of the first two actions; the adoption of more sustainable behaviour will be strenghtened by the availability of interesting alternatives and by the development of new laws that will discourage the improper disposal of plastic bags.




Total value:
1,341,033.46  €

Principal founder:

ue European Commission


Local partners:

Department of Environment -Phnom Penh Municipality
Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)


>>> 14 October 2016 - Launch Event: Fostering Sustainable Behaviours To Reduce Plastic Bags Waste




research about plastic bag consumption in Cambodia is under revision

>>> Cambodia gets smart with rubbish - Watch the video

>>> Excess Baggage Cambodia website