PET Plastic Bottles: What is it?

What is PET?

PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic resin and a form of polyester. Polyethylene terephthalate is a polymer that is formed by combining two monomers: modified ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid.


Why should I care?

We use PET containers in our day to lives, whether it be making a sandwich or buying a bottled water from the store. PET is the type of plastic labeled with the #1 code on or near the bottom of bottles and containers and is commonly used to package soft drinks, water, juice, peanut butter, salad dressings and oil, cosmetics and household cleaners.

Manufacturers use PET plastic to package products because of its strength, thermo-stability and transparency. Customers choose PET because it is inexpensive, lightweight, resealable, shatter-resistant and recyclable. Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) can be used to make many new products, including fiber for polyester carpet; fabric for T-shirts, shoes, luggage and more.


Why do soda and bottled water companies use PET bottles rather than glass?

PET is hygienic, strong, 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. But unlike glass, PET is extremely lightweight, simple to transport and won’t break, which is why it’s preferred for packaging many foods and beverages.


Can PET bottles that are left in a hot car or put in the microwave release dioxins?

No. PET does not contain dioxins, nor can it produce dioxins, and no dioxins are created in the manufacturing of PET. Dioxins are a group of compounds sometimes formed by high-temperature combustion (over 750 degrees F.) and certain types of industrial processes involving chlorine. Dioxins can’t be created without the presence of chlorine, and PET does not contain chlorine. Consequently, dioxins can’t be produced when a PET container is heated or microwaved, exposed to sunlight, or washed and reused (all urban myths).

In conclusion, using PET plastic is a healthier way of preserving and storing our food and liquids, that is why we here at White Water use PET plastic for all of our 5 gallon containers. Always be sure to check your labels for the #1 triangle! Also, consumers should be aware that, once opened, bacteria can grow in any packaging material if a food or beverage is stored in conditions suitable for bacterial growth. Therefore, it is best to clean any container with hot soapy water and to dry thoroughly before reuse.