What is PET

Facts about PET

PET Overview, Health, Safety and Fun Facts about PET.

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What is P.E.T ?
PET is polyethylene terephthalate. Its a plastic resin and the most common type of polyester. Two monomers--modified ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid--are combined to form the polymer called polyethylene terephthalate. PET was discovered and patented in England 1941.
PET is the plastic labeled with the #1 code. Many beverages, food items and other consumer products are delivered in bottles or packages made from PET. The #1 code is usually found on or near the bottom of the container.
PET makes good packages for food and non-food items. Manufacturers like it because it's safe, strong, transparent and versatile. Customers choose it for its safety, light weight, resealability, shatter-resistance and recyclability. The material can be recycled again and again.
PET can be recycled into many new products. It's used to make new bottles, but recycled PET can also be made into fiber for carpets; fabric for t-shirts or fleece jackets; fiberfill for sleeping bags, winter coats, and dog beds; industrial strapping; sheet and thermoformed (clam shell) packaging; and automotive parts such as headliners, bumpers, and door panels.
PET is approved by FDA (Food And Drug Administration) as safe for food and beverage contact and similar regulating agencies throughout the world and has been for over 30 years.
PET contains no phthalates. Phthalates (i.e., phthalate ester plasticizers or orthophthalates) are not used in PET, nor is PET a phthalate. 
PET contains no dioxins and dioxins can't be produced when a PET container is heated, microwaved or frozen (common urban myths).
PET itself is biologically inert if ingested, is dermally
safe during handling, and is not a hazard if inhaled,
according to the International Life Sciences Institute
Report “Packaging Materials 1. Polyethylene Terephthalate
PET for Food Packaging Applications” (2000)
PET contains no endocrine disruptors. PET contains no known endocrine disruptor chemicals.
PET contains no lead or cadmium. PET does not contain lead or cadmium, and neither one is used in the manufacture of PET.

Is it safe to reuse a PET bottle ?

Yes. The PET bottle itself poses no danger when refilled. PET is an inert plastic and does not leach harmful materials into its contents--either when a beverage is stored unopened, or when bottles are refilled or frozen. The PET container has been safely used for many years and has undergone rigorous testing under FDA guidelines to ensure its safety as a food and beverage container suitable for storage and reuse.


Is it safe to drink beverages that have been frozen in PET bottles ?

Yes. There are no dangers inherent in the freezing of PET bottles, and absolutely no truth to the internet-circulated rumors that dioxins are leached from frozen PET bottles into bottle contents.

Dioxin is a chlorine-containing chemical that has no role or presence in the chemistry of PET plastic. Furthermore, dioxins are part of a family of chemicals compounds formed only by combustion at temperatures well above 700 degrees Fahrenheit--not at room temperature or below.

PET packaging is selected by companies because it is safe, recyclable, convenient and suitable for food and beverage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed migration testing data and concluded that PET containers do not leach harmful amounts of substances into their contents under foreseeable conditions of use.


Is it safe to leave a PET bottle in a hot car ?

Yes. The idea that PET bottles "leach" chemicals when heated in hot cars is not based on any science, and is unsubstantiated by any credible evidence. This allegation has been perpetuated by emails until it has become an urban legend, but it just isnt so.


Does PET contain Bis-phenol A (BPA)?

No. There is no connection between PET plastic and Bis-phenol A. 
Bis-phenol A is not used in the production of PET material, nor is it used as a chemical building block for any of the materials used in the manufacture of PET.
Do I need to worry about phthalates in PET?
No. "Phthalates" (pronounced THA-lates) are a class of chemicals that include three subsets, each with different properties. PET or polyethylene terephthalate belongs to one of these phthalate subsets, but not the one most commonly associated with the term. 
Orthophthalate is the phthalate subset most commonly referenced and discussed in popular literature and on internet sites; it has been the subject of some negative press. Often used to make various plastics more flexible, this type of phthalate is also called a plasticizer. 
PET does not contain plasticizers or orthophthalates. Plasticizers are never substituted for terephthalates used in the manufacturer of PET, nor are the two ever mixed. 
PET packaging is selected by companies for a wide variety of product applications because it is safe, strong, shatter-proof, and recyclable.
The PET bottle was patented in 1973 by chemist Nathaniel Wyeth (brother of distinguished American painter Andrew Wyeth).
The first PET bottle was recycled in 1977.
An estimated 7,700 curbside collection programs and 10,000 drop-off programs currently collect PET plastic in the United States.
Approximate number of PET beverage bottles per pound:
16 oz. -- 18 bottles 
20 oz. -- 19 bottles 
1 liter -- 12 bottles 
2 liter -- 9 bottles 
3 liter -- 5 bottles 
One cubic yard of landfill space is conserved by recycling:
4,800  16-ounce PET beverage bottles 
4,050  20-ounce bottles 
3,240  1-liter bottles 
2,430  2-liter bottles 
1,350  3-liter bottles 
Since 1978, manufacturers have reduced the weight of a two-liter bottle by about 29%, from 68 grams to 48 grams.
Recycling a ton of PET containers saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
According to the EPA, recycling a pound of PET saves approximately 12,000 BTUs. (To see our April 2010 Life Cycle
Inventory Report, visit our Sustainability page.) 
The average household used 42 pounds of PET plastic bottles in 2005.
Custom bottles (those used for products other than carbonated soft drinks) represent 62% of all PET bottles available for recycling.
Nineteen 20-ounce PET bottles yield enough fiber for an extra large T-shirt, or enough to make one square foot of carpet.
It takes 63 20-ounce PET bottles to make a sweater.
Fourteen 20-ounce PET bottles yield enough fiberfill for a ski jacket.
It takes 114 20-ounce PET bottles to make enough fiberfill for a sleeping bag.