PET packaging, a friend not a foe.
In the media today, many blame the use of plastic packaging to the wide range of ecological threats we are facing currently. However, many do not know the environmental and cost benefits it brings society if we use and recycle this packaging correctly. The focus of this blog will be to highlight the highly beneficial characteristics of a material that maximizes the efficiency of the way we consume food, beverages, and other consumer products.
The PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottle was granted its first patent in 1973 and from the outset had the power to change the world for the better. The material had many remarkable qualities such as the ability to hold 50 times its weight in water. This lightweight, durable and easily shaped material quickly replaced glass bottles as it provided a reduction in weight of almost 90% versus glass and has a very low risk of breaking during filling or transportation, greatly reducing the risk of injury and destruction of goods previously experienced by glass. Furthermore, during the process to manufacture PET bottles and thermoformed containers, almost no PET is wasted when compared to other plastics such as Polyethylene (“PE”) and Polypropylene (“PP”). To add to the list of benefits, unconventional uses were developed such as placing PET bottles in direct sunlight to destroy harmful disease-causing bacteria in water in less economically developed parts of the world, bringing safe drinking water to people in desperate need of it. On top of this, PET is resistant to micro-organisms and does not react with food products, allowing it to greatly improve the shelf life of thousands of food, beverage, and even pharmaceutical products. With an increasingly globalized economy, the ability to protect and preserve the products we use every day while keeping packaging extremely lightweight minimizes fuel consumption during transport, which is critical in the world’s quest to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. PET is also much more environmentally friendly when it comes to reusing it. The carbon footprint associated with recycling PET is much lower than the carbon footprint (energy use) required to recycle glass and aluminum and to melt the material to form new containers.
Arguably above all, the best trait of PET is that it can be cost-effectively and efficiently recycled over and over again without compromising its quality and many important use capabilities. That is why we here at rPlanet Earth are so adamant on leading the formation of a closed-loop circular economy for this fantastic material so that we can keep it out of the environment and allow it to continue to help us in countless areas of our daily life. So next time you drink a bottle of water or eat a salad from your local grocery store, remember the power you are holding in your hands and make sure empty containers find a recycling bin to ensure you're doing your part for the good of our planet Earth. Thank you.