GREEN 2 Go Saipan, a new non-profit organization run by middle school students, and Ice 2 CU, a cafe in Garapan, are working together to help reduce plastic waste in CNMI.
On Thursday, they launched a drink promotion that will last until Valentine’s Day.
Customers can bring their own flasks or bottles of water to Ice 2 CU and, in return, receive their second drink for $2.
Ice 2 CU staff will wear gloves and masks at all times when handling flasks or bottles of water.
In an interview, Soarin Oh, a 13-year-old student from Dandan Middle School and CEO of Green 2 Go Saipan, said, “Global warming and greenhouse gas emissions in our world have increased and completely destroyed our earth. … We will have less time to live for our children and grandchildren… if we keep this [up].”
She added: “Although we have a small population, we still create a lot of pollution which impacts global warming and greenhouse gas emissions in our world… We can do much better. When it comes to people hosting barbecues or even small gatherings in their front yard, there is always so much trash that gets thrown around their neighborhoods. [It is important] just being aware and knowing that you can make a difference in the world starting with our islands.
Oh said she takes a lot of inspiration from companies like Tesla and environmental activists like Greta Thunberg.
“They inspire me [be] more passionate about the environment. That’s why I’m doing this,” she said.
In the nonprofit’s first year, Oh said she hopes to persuade more cafes and restaurants to reduce plastic waste and promote eco-friendly and sustainable packaging alternatives. encourage community members to go so far as to bring their own food or drink containers.
Oh also hopes to bring more young people together to join the cause and raise awareness locally and nationally, noting that she has already spoken with a number of students from different schools about her group’s environmental campaign.
In the age of social media, she said their outreach efforts will focus on using these platforms.
Oh said she hopes local environmental agencies, such as Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, will partner with Green 2 Go Saipan.
Green 2 Go Saipan’s five-year and ten-year plans focus on reducing plastic waste in CNMI, especially in densely populated areas.
“This [is] learn more about risk taking and try to see what I can do at this age. AT [my] age, no one really takes [these environmental concerns] seriously… My friends and I are more focused on changing what we can, and we want to start with that [campaign]”Oh said.
Prior to the campaign launch, she pitched to Ice 2 CU owner Pei “Perry” Li.
“He was all in. I showed him my presentation and told him how he could expand his clientele here and how we can help the environment. He was just absolutely positive about it,” she said.
Li, for his part, said he was delighted to be the first supplier to partner with Green 2 Go Saipan.
“I feel excited. This [campaign] it’s good because for us we use plastic bags, plastic cups and plastic straws [which is] not too green. We also want to do our best to support the program and be more environmentally friendly,” he said.
After the promotion ends on Valentine’s Day, Ice 2 CU and Green 2 Go Saipan hope to go plasticless for a whole working day once a week while offering a half-price promotion for customers.
“[Businesses] will attract more customers, use less plastic and help make the world a better place,” Oh said.
Green 2 Go Saipan welcomes new members.
For more information on Green 2 Go Saipan or Ice 2 CU, visit their respective Facebook and/or Instagram pages.