Volunteer group swaps plastic bottles for cacti

December 20, 2019 - 08:15

Every month, a group of university volunteers called “Share To Smile” (STS) in HCM City exchanges small pots of cactis for five or more used plastic bottles.


Xuân Đăng

HCM CITY — Every month, a group of university volunteers called “Share To Smile” (STS) in HCM City exchanges small pots of cacti for five or more used plastic bottles.

On Wednesday of the first week of the month, the exchange takes place at the HCM City National University Dormitory Zone B in Thủ Đức District.

Bùi Hoàng Huy, a graduate student at the HCM City University of Sciences, came up with the idea.

“The purpose was to bring joy to everyone through small gifts and spread the meaning of sharing to other people,” Huy explained.

After seven months of operation, the group now has more than 20 members, most of them are students at universities in the city

“At first, with a small number of members, our group could only grow 20 to 50 cacti. But this month we planted 550 cacti,” he said. “So far, our team has given more than 2,000 plants and I hope the number will increase."

Students receive pots of cacti in exchange for donating five plastic bottles to Share To Smile, a group of volunteer university students in HCM City. — Photo courtesy of Share To Smile

The plastic bottles are cut in half and serve as pots for the plants. 

Student Nguyễn Hoài Bảo, 18, said the activity encourages young people to protect the environment and reduce plastic waste.    

“This is the fourth time that I have participated and I've shared this with my friends who want to join,” Bảo said.

Trần Kim Ngân, a freshman at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said this was her first time participating in the group activity.

“I love growing plants like cacti to decorate my room. Exchanging the used plastic bottles for the plants is good for the environment,” she added

Initially, the group was composed only of Huy and a few of his roommates, but then it became more well known at the university.

Tô Hồng Ngọc, a member of STS, who joined the group in October, said she liked the environmental protection message of the activity.

“Since joining the group, I have more awareness about environmental protection and I've limited my use of plastic bottles,” she added.

Besides exchanging trees for plastic bottles, STS will begin fundraising every six months to help disadvantaged children.

The “Give You a Smile” fundraising activity will begin in late December.

People will be encouraged to donate books and school stationery so that STS can give them to students at Lam Sơn primary school in Định Quán District in Đồng Nai Province. — VNS