What is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)?
What does PET stand for?
PET stands for PolyEthylene Terephthalate and is sometimes referred to as PETE, PETP, or PET-P. PET is a thermoplastic polymer in the polyester family that is formed by combining two types of monomers together; ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid.
What is PETâ€™s Plastic Identification Number?
Plastic products made from PET are labeled with a recycling symbol that has a number 1 inside (pictured above). This is PETâ€™s Plastic Identification Number, a plastic numbering system introduced by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc (SPI) back in 1988. There are a total of 7 plastic numbers. The numbers were intended for use in identifying plastic types during the recycling purposes.
What are some products made from Polyethylene Terephthalate?
Polyethylene Terephthalate is probably most well known for its use in water, juice, and soda bottles. Youâ€™ll also find PET plastic used in other packaging such as peanut butter jars, containers for holding salad dressings, cooking oils, cosmetics, and household cleaners. PET used for plastic packaging consumes roughly 30% of PET usage worldwide.
A major use of Polyethylene Terephthalate is in synthetic fibers used for manufacturing polyester clothing, fabrics, carpets, etc. PET used for this purpose consumes more than 60% of PET usage worldwide!
Why is PET so popular?
- PET plastic is naturally colorless and highly transparent.
- PET plastic is strong, lightweight, shatterproof, and has excellent barrier to gas, alcohol, and other solvents.
- PET plastic is relatively inexpensive to manufacturer and is highly recyclable.
Is PET the most used plastic in the world?
It’s not! itâ€™s actually ranked number 3 behind polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
While it’s not the most used, PET is actually the most recycled type of plastic in the world!
Is Polyethylene Terephthalate recyclable?
Yes, PET is highly recyclable.
Recycled PET (rPET) can be used to manufacture polyester fibers used in producing fabric, clothing, carpets, upholstery, etc.
rPET can also be used in producing sheet and film, industrial strapping, automotive parts, fuse boxes, headliners, bumpers, grilles, door panels, luggage racks, etc.
While most recycled plastics are “downcycled,” that is, recycled plastics are never made into the same thing more than once, PET bottles can be remade into plastic bottles and or food and other non-food containers.
- What is High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)?
- What is Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)?
- What is Polystyrene (PS)?