What is PET?

The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle is probably the most visible bottle on the market at the moment as it is widely used in beverage and soft drink packaging. PET is a type of plastic polymer or polyster which is identifiable by the #1 code at the base of the bottle.

The manufacturing of PET material is a very technical process. PET, just like other plastics is a derivative that is made from oil, coal, ethanol and gas. The key ingredients in PET manufacturing are ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid which are made to react at very high temperatures and pressure to obtain amorphous PET. The resin is then crystallized and polymerized to increase its molecular weight and viscosity. The resulting resin is used to make plastic containers, commonly known as PET bottles.

At retail level, the PET bottle is identifiable as the transparent, rigid container used to package bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks and has other food and non food packaging applications. Of late it has become common to see opaque beer being packed in PET bottles. The reason why PET is widely used for food packaging is because it is very robust and resilient and therefore is able to preserve the integrity of the product hence extend it’s shelve life.

Other Plastics

There is a universally accepted grading system for distinguishing different plastic materials. PET uses number 1 while HDPE, PVC and LDPE uses number 2, 3 and 4 respectively. The entire grading system is shown in the table below:-