Over 12,500 pounds of empty water bottles have been recycled through a recycling program at Benton Harbor High School as part of the state of Michigan water giveaway due to the city’s lead water crisis. Five trailers of empty water bottles have been processed and a sixth trailer is currently accepting empty water bottles. More than 12.5 million bottles of free water have been distributed since September 2021. Residents are being encouraged to take home 33-gallon, clear plastic bags from the bottle distribution site to return empty water bottles at the high school during water distribution hours. Caps may be left on the bottles and bottles can be crushed, but do not need to be in order to be recycled. Only water bottles can be recycled at this site. Plastic bags are also available to be delivered and will be collected during home deliveries. A recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study confirms that certified filters, properly installed and maintained, are effective in reducing lead in Benton Harbor drinking water. The Berrien County Health Department has filters available free of charge.