Good Hope Students Urge Island to Say 'No' to Plastic Bags

The class of 2011 at Good Hope School is on a mission to rid the island of plastic bags. The juniors have been on a campaign since 2008 to get people to “say no to plastic bags.”

“The whole point of the campaign is to bring awareness and to educate people on the impact on the environment of using plastic,” said Ingrid Camacho, Spanish teacher and advisor for the class.

Camacho said she is really happy to see the influence the students have had. She has seen many people bringing their own bags into grocery stores – any kind – not just Good Hope bags. Good Hope itself has sold 1,500 bags so far.

“People just have to get used to using their own bag when they grocery shop and not forget them in the car,” Camacho said.

The 20 students in the class developed the campaign starting with a name. They came up with the slogan “Say No to Plastic Bags.” Next they came up with a logo for bags and T-shirts.

The students have been promoting recycling and using the bag at both Plaza Extra Stores, Pueblo and Food Town. They are getting people to sign pledges to practice recycling.

Now the students are focusing on and encouraging Sen. Shawn Michael Malone, who has shown an interest in the campaign, to sponsor a bill to ban plastic bags.

Camacho was able to get a grant for $1,500 from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and $2,000 from a FirstBank grant. She says the class makes very little money on selling the bags, and what they do goes back into promotions and advertising with banners and such to raise awareness.

She said the students are excited about the campaign and what they are doing for the community.

They plan to have a booth again this year at the Agricultural Fair. The students and Camacho are members of the Recycling Association of the Virgin Islands.

The bags can be purchased at Good Hope School. Bags that are 100 percent post recycled material cost $3. Small canvas bags are $6 and large canvas bags are $9. The bags come in assorted colors with graphics.

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