Plastic has become an integral part of life. However, it is time that we start using it responsibly. People are not aware of the different types of plastics used, which leads to misconceptions. Some types of plastics are HDPE, LDPE, PVC, PET, etc. Each plastic has different properties and compositions. Here, we will be discussing PET plastic, which has become popular because it is recyclable.
Manufacturers are becoming responsible and designing products that do not harm the environment since plastic has been stated to be a severe threat to the planet. The governments are also actively participating and supporting the cause. While some countries have already established a well-designed system, others are on track and developing a process that would benefit everyone.
The major challenge that government bodies face is creating awareness amongst end-users since many myths circulate amongst people, and they start believing it without checking the facts.
Plastic bottles are commonly used by a mass number of people each day. Soda, juice, soft drinks, and drinking water are all available in plastic packaging, and people love it as they can carry it anywhere with ease and then discard them once they have consumed the product. People believe that the discarded bottles would reach the dumping yard and never be used again. This is a myth as most manufacturers use PET bottles these days for packaging their products.
PET bottles offer several benefits to consumers and manufacturers and are becoming a popular choice. As a result, a significant percentage of manufacturers are using these bottles. However, people are yet to be enlightened about using PET plastic since many myths circulate and need to be cleared for a better tomorrow.
Advantages of PET bottles over other packaging products
- PET bottles are light in weight and thus are cost-effective and easy to transport.
- Unlike glass, PET plastic does not break or shatter.
- People carry them easily as they can be stored in a compact space.
- The bottles can be re-sealed easily.
- PET bottles are recyclable, the major advantage over traditional plastic packaging. The Government is promoting PET bottle recycling since it helps minimize waste accumulation in dumping grounds.
- The bottles can be easily moulded into various shapes. Manufacturers use this feature to promote their brand with unique and distinctive product designs.
- PET renders adaptive designing, which means that bottle shape and size can be switched whenever desired. This leads to better efficiency.
Unknown Facts about PET Bottles
There are several myths amongst end-user that need to be eliminated. Therefore, here are some interesting facts that every PET bottle user should know. The facts can be divided into different categories.
- Environmental facts: The primary need for designing PET bottles came up when plastic waste began piling up in landfills. After research, environmentalists and scientists established that this plastic waste could have hazardous effects on the planet in the future. Therefore, finding an alternative that would offer similar utility and could be recycled was necessary. The innovative design of PET bottles has revolutionized the packaging industry. Now manufacturers use recycled PET bottle flakes to manufacture new bottles as per requirement leading to reduced use of virgin plastic.
- Use of non-renewable energy resources: Manufacturing PET bottles involves using resources like oil and water. While the proportion of used resources is significantly less, industries have constantly been reducing the amount further.
- PET manufacturers use Antimony trioxide as a catalyst at approved levels. This toxin is reported in bottled water but is much below the acceptable safe level.
- BPA (Bisphenol A) is a chemical used in the plastic industry. However, PET plastic does not contain this chemical, suitable for end-users.
- Phthalates are yet another substance that is absent in PET bottles. It is majorly found in PVC plastic products.
- PET bottles contain PET fiber which has zero carcinogens. Often there is a myth that carcinogens in soft drink bottles are transferred to the drink content, but this is not true.
- Manufacturers mention on the packaging whether the bottle is single-use or reusable to create awareness amongst consumers.
- Pet plastic help eliminate greenhouse gases as they have a lower carbon footprint. So, people should try their best to segregate plastic waste responsibly.
- People often talk about PET bottles causing cancer. However, this is entirely untrue.
- Another myth about PET bottles is that they leach the soil and cause contamination. But PET is chemically inert and does not react with the soil composition.
EPR: The Advent of Recyclable Plastic
India has been progressing fast, and people are now aware of their duties and rights. Introduction of extended producer responsibility in India aimed at reducing e-waste. Later on, plastic waste was also added to this policy. EPR demanded the manufacturing of plastic products that could be recycled easily, and this led to PET plastic. The roadmap to developing an effective EPR system is still long for the country as currently, it is a voluntary policy. This means that manufacturers do not have an obligation. They can decide they would undertake EPR and follow the protocol. Thus, it is time that the Government plans and executes EPR as a strict law so that all PIBOs are accountable for recovering plastic they have introduced into the environment.
PET bottles are indeed a great product since a large proportion of the plastic waste dumped in the junkyards consists of plastic packaging. Once the policy becomes a mandate in the country, there will be a tremendous reduction in plastic waste quantity.
Many countries have successfully implemented EPR, and this policy has proved to be beneficial to all stakeholders in the plastic life cycle. While manufacturers are saving production and raw material costs, they are also getting incentives for successful implementation of the process. The Government benefitted by reducing the burden on its local municipal bodies, which are responsible for managing waste. The ultimate benefit is to humankind, and the planet as plastic waste that could litter the landfills is recycled and reused for years. Thus, EPR is the necessity for a greener and cleaner Earth. Every individual should contribute to making this plastic cycle sustainable and fruitful.