In Costa Rica two years ago, more than a million people were wearing rings made of plastic straws. They were commitment rings fashioned from the last plastic straw the person used and they were part of a campaign called Strawmitments by digital agency, Orson, for Costa Rican NGO, MarViva.
The aim of the campaign was to motivate everyday Costa Ricans to care about plastic pollution, which would in turn put pressure on the Costan Rican government to take notice and act. Historically, Costa Rica has had an image as a “green country”. Other countries have even applauded the initiatives from this little place in Central America in the past. Sadly, Costa Rican politicians were no longer doing their work to keep up the momentum. One example was Bill 20.985, regarding the ban of single use plastic focused on straws, bags and bottles. It was presented to Congress more than 10 years ago and had not progressed at all.
MarViva is an NGO that protects life ocean life. It needed the government to bring back this bill into the national conversation. A survey from Kantar Worldpanel showed that 85% of Costa Ricans do not act to reduce plastic consumption. Orson realised people needed to start with something small but with tremendous results for the planet. Strawmitments was launched, therefore, as a social movement that invited people to fabricate a commitment ring from their last plastic straw, as a symbol to show the commitment they have made with the planet.
Together with an online petition to approve Bill 20.985, the everyday population showed the kind of commitment the government had been lacking for decades about the issue. With a little help from influencers, who were sent specially designed plastic straw rings by the agency, social media began to fill with posts people had uploaded of the commitment rings they had made. The petition received more than 127,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
All this attention and pressure helped Orson and Marviva to reach its main goal. Bill 20.985 was finally approved, after more than 10 years, by Congress.
Carlos Alvarado, Costa Rica’s president, made a public statement that the breakthrough had helped his government and him regain Costa Rica’s green status. This earned him a spot on Times magazine cover for the The next 100 most influential people edition. The effort made Costa Rica the first Latin-American country to ban plastic straws, and the 8th globally.
Chief Executive Officers: Cristhian Fuentes, Javier Mora & Pablo Chaves
Creative Directors: Alonso Cortés & Julian Robert
Copywriter: Julian RobertArt Directors: Daysi Camacho, Felipe de la Parra & Kenneth Prieto
Designers: Ivan Solano, Alonso Lopez, Leyla Vargas & Bryan Bertozzi
Account Executive: Kimberly Romero
Producer: Cristhian Barquero
Post Production: The Farm
Post Producers: Oscar Roa, Carlos Roa & Diego Robert
Client Contact: Nash Ugalde