I commend the Thompson Rivers University Students’ Union for undertaking a review of beverage containers and for making recommendations to the University administration.
Unfortunately, as someone who has been involved in recycling policies and programs for nearly 30 years and who has conducted numerous environmental life-cycle assessments of consumer products and packages, I find that the TRUSU data do not meet internationally accepted criteria for determining environmentally preferred products. For example, you quote the TRUSU as reporting that PET bottles are associated with highly toxic substances. This is simply not true.
PET is recognized by governments and public health authorities in countries all over the world as a very safe material.
TRUSU is quoted as stating that only 20 percent of recycled plastic bottles are turned back into bottles.
According to Encorp, approximately 80 per cent of PET bottles in B.C. are recycled. Almost all of the recycled bottles are going into high value uses because the demand for post-consumer recycled PET in Canada exceeds the supply.
Sustainability provides the best path for accommodating a growing global population. If TRU truly aspires to be the “university of choice for environmental sustainability” and a source of graduates qualified for the most sustainable jobs of the future, it needs to ensure that campus decisions are based on valid science and not on conventional, and often false, wisdom.