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What is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)?

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is a form of polyester that is used in the production of plastic bottles and containers for food, beverages, and cosmetics. It was patented in 1973 by chemist Nathaniel Wyeth by combining modified ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid. It is popular among manufacturers for its ease of production, transparency, lightweight, and the fact that is easily recyclable.

Because of its versatility, PET is used in not only the production of containers and packaging but also in the creation of polyester clothing. Despite being easily recyclable and versatile, many PET products have found their way into landfills, meaning more resources have to be collected for the production of PET and less space in landfills.

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Other Sources

American Chemistry Council. “The Safety of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET).” Plasticsinfo.org. https://plasticsinfo.org/Main-Menu/MicrowaveFood/Need-to-Know/Plastic-Bev-Bottles/The-Safety-of-Polyethylene-Terephthalate-PET.html. Accessed May 26, 2016.

PET Resin Association. “FAQs.” PETRA. http://www.petresin.org/faq.asp#Re. Accessed May 26, 2016.

The Planet Bottle. “What is PET.” The Planet Bottle. http://www.theplanetbottle.net/what-is-pet.html. Accessed May 26, 2016.