‘Choose to reuse’ on Tuesdays with MINA, Joeten


Every Tuesday will be a little bit greener now. The Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, in collaboration with Joeten grocery stores, kicked off their “Taya Plastc Bag Tuesday” event on Tuesday, with local celebrities bagging groceries at Joeten’s four locations. 

Customers will say no to plastic bags as Joeten, MINA’s 2013 Green Business of the Year, will not be distributing any every Tuesday, as a part of MINA’s Plastic Bag Challenge.

“Taya” means “nothing” in the indigenous Chamorro language.

According MINA program manager Becky Ada Furey, the campaign’s goal is to completely eliminate the use of plastic bags, which is the most littered item on the island.

Joeten in Susupe passed out over 100 reusable bags at its location on Tuesday. Furey told Saipan Tribune that customers can purchase MINA’s reusable bags in green, orange, or blue for 99 cents each.

“I think this is amazing. It is a great way to try to tidy up the island and keep it clean,” said Saipan resident Walter Manglona. “Go green! It would be great to see it every day of the week.”

Customers like Walter will get 10 cents off their store purchase when using MINA’s bags, labeled “I choose to reuse.” Customers can also get a 5-cent discount by using their personal reusable bags at any Joeten grocery store location.

During Tuesday’s event, volunteer celebrities bagged groceries and handed out free reusable eco bags for an hour, in an effort to encourage the community to reduce the use of plastic bags.

“We are not just practicing what we are preaching; we are making it a daily practice,” said volunteer celebrity bagger and Saipan Tribune’s 2015 Person of the Year Nola Hix. 

Education Specialist program manager Bobby Cruz echoed Hix’s sentiments.

“If we are not good stewards of the resources we have today then we are not thinking about of our future,” he said. “I feel like if I can do one small thing to help educate people to be environmentally responsible and to promote that attitude, I am doing my part.” 

House Speaker Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero, Delta Air Lines sales account executive Chris Concepcion, and BECQ’s marine biologist Steven Johnson were among the 15 local celebrities who assisted the organization in its campaign launch.

Furey said that community feedback has been positive so far. “Today is just the start,” she added. “MINA has plans to make the Taya Plastic Bag campaign more than once a week.”

“I know it is a challenge to accept change and adapt to it. Right now, we know to gradually phase out plastic bags and convince the islands to say no to plastic bags because they are destroying the environment,” she said. 

A portion of the money gained through the purchase of MINA’s eco-friendly bags will go to the organization. To learn more about the Plastic Bag Challenge call MINA at 233-7333 (REEF) or email minaoutreach@gmail.com.

Thomas Manglona II | Correspondent

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