DID YOU KNOW? Little-Known Facts about PET Plastic

  • PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is actually polyester. When PET is used for bottles, containers and other applications, it is called PET or PET resin. When PET is used as a fiber, it is typically called polyester.
  • The PET bottle was invented by Nathaniel C. Wyeth, a DuPont engineer and brother of American painter Andrew Wyeth. The patent was issued to Wyeth in 1973 and assigned to DuPont.
  • According to the EPA, recycling one pound of PET bottles (that’s about 10 two-liter soda bottles) saves approximately 26,000 BTUs of energy.
  • PET bottles and the sun are helping millions of people in developing countries obtain potable water. Using a system called SODIS (solar water disinfection), inhabitants set water-filled PET bottles in the sun for several hours or days – depending on how much sunlight is available – as a simple but effective means of destroying disease-causing bacteria and gaining safe drinking water.
  • More than 1.5 billion pounds of used PET bottles and containers are collected in the U.S. each year for recycling. PET is the most recycled plastic in the U.S. and the world.
  • A single-serve PET bottle (0.5 liter) is strong enough to hold 50 times its weight in water.
  • Chemists keep finding new ways to make PET lighter without losing any strength. A 2-liter PET bottle that weighed 68 grams in 1980 now weighs as little as 42 grams. The average weight of single-serve 0.5 liter PET water bottle is now 9.9 grams, nearly half of what it weighed in 2000.
  • Woven, knitted and braided PET fibers are sometimes used by surgeons for implantable sutures, cardiovascular patches and wound repair meshes because of PET’s bio-stability and durability.
  • More than 150 U.S. colleges and universities – including the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Michigan State and Wake Forest – are using graduation caps and gowns made from 100% recycled PET.
  • Americans recycle more than 1 million single-serve PET water bottles every hour.

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