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Frequently Asked Questions

PET Basics

What is PET resin or PET?

PET, which stands for polyethylene terephthalate, is a form of polyester (just like the clothing fabric). It
is extruded or molded into plastic bottles and containers for packaging foods and beverages, personal
care products, and many other consumer products.

How can I distinguish PET bottles and containers from other plastics?

PET containers are typically molded on the bottom or side with the number 1 surrounded by the
triangular "chasing arrows" symbol and the acronym PET or PETE below the triangle. Only PET carries
the #1 identification code.

What is the benefit of using Pet in packaging?

PET is hygienic, strong, and resistant to attack by micro-organisms, does not react with foods or
beverages, and will not biologically degrade. Its safety for food and beverage use is recognized by health
authorities around the world. Compared with glass, PET is extremely lightweight, simple to transport
and won't break, which is why it is preferred for packaging many foods and beverages.

Can a PET water bottle be refilled and reused?

It's a common misconception that refilling or reusing a PET bottle will somehow cause the bottle to degrade or to release harmful substances. PET is a stable, inert material that doesn't biologically or chemically degrade with use, and is resistant to attack by micro-organisms. Regulatory authorities have tested PET bottles and found no harmful substances in either new or re-used PET bottles.

Can PET bottles and containers be recycled?

PET is 100% recyclable and highly sustainable. It can be recovered and recycled again and again –– back into containers for foods, beverages and personal care products – or into carpet and clothing fibres, automotive parts, construction materials, industrial strapping or other packaging materials.

How can PET have a positive environmental profile if its raw materials are petroleum-based?

PET is a remarkably energy-efficient packaging material, with an environmental impact that compares very favorably to glass, aluminium and other container materials. Although PET's feedstocks are derived from crude oil and natural gas, approximately 40% of that energy is trapped within the PET polymer for recapture and reuse every time PET is recycled. And because PET is very strong yet lightweight, it allows more products to be delivered with less packaging, less weight and less fuel for transport. These factors help explain why life cycle studies of PET have consistently shown it to be a highly sustainable material with a positive environmental profile.

What happens to PET bottles and containers that aren't recycled and end up in landfills?

Because PET is resistant to attack by micro-organisms and won't biologically degrade, PET bottles and containers that find their way to the landfill remain inert and pose no risk of leaching or contaminating groundwater. PET bottles and containers are thin walled and can be easily crushed flat, so they take up relatively little landfill space.

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