By Sarah Jane O'Connor
Kid power was seen in full force at local grocery store, DeCicco & Sons, on Thursday February 15. Pelham Eliminates Plastics, or PEP, is an all-youth run organization whose mission is to generate awareness about the dangers of single-use plastics. They are working to bring this initiative to the town of Pelham and its citizens in order eliminate these single-use plastic bags, straw, coffee lids, and water bottles. Partnering with DeCicco & Sons for Plastic Pollution Awareness Day, paper bags were offered to every customer at checkout by their cashier, instead of the standard plastic bags. Plastic bags were only provided to customers who asked for them. A table was set up outside the store where PEP members distributed flyers about plastic bag facts and stickers with the official PEP logo while wearing their t-shirts with the same custom logo emblemed on the front.
When PEP members first approached management at DeCicco & Sons to take part in this special community action, the teens were delighted with the warm reaction they received.
“The management at DeCicco’s was extremely supportive of us, and really embraced PEP and our cause. This is really special because they see the importance of doing their part to help the environment,” said fellow PEP member Sophia Carranza, “The customers were also very receptive, saying they were happy to help, and that this has made them more aware of how they should either bring reusable bags to the grocery store or opt for paper bags.”
PEP was inspired to bring Plastic Pollution Awareness Day to Pelham by Hannah Testa, a 15 year old girl from Georgia who decided to create the day with the help of her state senator and the rest of the Georgia state senate.
Starting up in November, PEP has since launched social media accounts under the handle pep_activists. You can find them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.