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PET plastic: an ecological choice for tomorrow's packaging

PET is one of the most commonly recycled plastics. That's why it's so popular with companies looking to reduce their environmental impact. In the following lines, you will see the details of what exactly PET plastic is. What is it made of and what are the famous advantages that make it a must-have product?

Le plastique recyclable le pet

What is PET plastic?

PET is the acronym for Polyethylene Terephthalate, a thermoplastic resin widely used in the manufacture of plastic bottles for drinks, food, cosmetics, household products and much more. PET, or PETE to some, is a highly recyclable polymer. It is also considered a safe material for use in food contact packages. PET is visually recognisable by the triangular shape of three arrows with the number 1 in the middle, indicating that the plastic is recyclable.

What is PET plastic made of?

PET is a linear polymer, which means that it is made up of identical molecules arranged in long chains. These chains are aligned next to each other, which gives PET its strength and resistance to impact. This particular plastic is made up of particles formed strictly from hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. These molecules form two compounds, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol, which are combined to form a long polymer chain. The chemical reaction that binds these two together is known as condensation diffusion. Terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol are abundant and inexpensive raw materials, which contributes to PET's cost-effectiveness. Condensation polymerisation itself is a relatively simple process that requires little effort, making plastic PET easy to produce on a large scale.

The different types and characteristics of PET

Crystal PET is the type of PET most commonly used in the manufacture of plastic bottles. It is transparent and offers excellent impact resistance, as well as good resistance to chemicals.

Amorphous PET is used to make plastic film and sheet. Unlike crystal PET, it is opaque and offers lower impact resistance. However, amorphous PET is more flexible than crystal PET, making it ideal for applications requiring flexibility, such as food packaging.

Modified PET is a type of PET that has been treated to provide specific properties, such as improved heat resistance or moisture resistance. It is often used to make products such as bottles for hot drinks or containers for cosmetics.

Recycled PET is made from PET bottles and other products that have been collected and recycled. It is often used to make products such as textile fibres, foils, bottles and containers.

The benefits of PET plastic

Although plastic is often seen as a polluting material, PET has a number of ecological advantages that make it a sustainable choice for tomorrow's packaging. PET is a versatile and resistant material that is widely used in industrial applications, particularly in the production of plastic bottles and textile fibres. But PET plastic is about much more than just strength.

A high-quality product

PET is light and strong, making it an ideal choice for product packaging. PET bottles are often lighter than glass or metal bottles, which reduces the carbon footprint of transport. What's more, PET is easily mouldable, enabling innovative packaging shapes and designs to be created. Since the 1990s, PET plastic has been the product of choice for shampoos, oil bottles, etc. PET is also used in the production of textile fibres for clothing and carpets, thanks to its softness.


PET is recyclable and can be transformed into new products such as plastic bottles, clothing and even furniture. Unlike other types of plastic, PET can be recycled several times without losing its properties. This means that by using recycled PET in the manufacture of new products, we can reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfill or in the environment. PET is also cheaper to produce than other plastics. To be recycled, the plastic is reduced to a powder. A machine then melts it at 280°C. The vaporised product is then cooled in water and cut into small pieces. These small pieces are purified to eliminate the small molecular artefacts. And it is these small purified granules that are distributed on the market.

Suitable for food products

PET is a safe material for use in contact with food. Unlike some other plastics, PET does not contain bisphenol A (BPA) or other harmful chemicals. This means that PET packaging is safe for human health. PET plastic has no effect on the taste or quality of food. In fact, while some containers alter the composition of water, for example, PET does not allow harmful molecules to migrate. This is because PET plastic bottles comply with the rigorous rules required by the European health and safety agencies (ANSES).



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