Nina Chase deserves applause for championing environmentalism and serving as a leader among her young peers. However, the Forecaster article printed in the Sun Journal July 10, “Scarborough fourth grader leads effort to ban bottled water in school,” does misrepresent the true recyclability of the water bottles she is seeking to ban from her school.

Those bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which is the most recycled plastic in the United States and in the world. The article’s claim that most bottles go to the landfill simply isn’t true — in fact, Americans recycle more than 1 million single-use PET water bottles every hour, and more than 1.5 billion pounds of used PET bottles and containers are collected in the U.S. each year for recycling. In total, nearly 40 percent of all single-serving PET water bottles are collected and recycled into a wealth of products for tomorrow, from carpeting and clothing to new food and beverage containers.

The greatest sustainability benefits for water bottles are gained when recycling is practiced as a way to conserve raw materials, and the most effective way to reduce litter and increase the sustainable use of PET is to dispose of bottles and containers in the recycle bin, where allowed, not the trash can. Increased recycling of PET is a simple and responsible way to a more sustainable future.

We encourage Chase, and her classmates, to continue fighting to save the planet, starting with improving recycling rates.

Ralph Vasami, New York, N.Y.

Executive director, PET Resin Association

Editor’s note: Water bottles for sale in Maine are subject to a bottle return fee, included with the sale. Empty bottles can be taken to a redemption facility where they are then processed for recycling.

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