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"Polyethylene terephthalate, better known as PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate), is obtained from ethylene and paraxylene. It is one of the synthetic materials called polyester. It is a linear thermoplastic, it is transparent (high degree of crystallinity) and it is a very hard material. It is resistant to wear and tear and chemical products, to impact, to breakage and to fire. We can find it in film, in bottles and containers since it can be in contact with food and beverages and preserves their aroma and flavor. It is also used to replace natural fibers such as linen or cotton (Textile).
It was produced in 1941 by scientists Whinfield and Dickson for the manufacture of fibers. After 1946 it began to be used industrially as a fiber and today it is still used as a textile. A few years later it began to be used to package food. As it is easy to produce bottles with this material, it began to be used in the manufacture of beverage containers.
Currently, there are more and more fields in which PET is applied. The most important applications are the following:
The use in the container and packaging: the containers have evolved rapidly and it is used both for filling at normal temperatures and in hot. It is used for carbonated drinks, preserves, cosmetics ...
The use in the electro-electronic segment: it has several films and applications: telecommunications, electronic devices….
The use in the fibers: in the textile industry it is used to make fabrics and garments.
PET is 100% recyclable and easy to do. If plastic is recycled and reused as many times as possible, it would not be necessary to produce more plastic. In this way, not only would energy consumption be reduced in the production of the material, but the amount of waste in landfills would also be reduced.
There are different ways to recycle PET:
Mechanical recycling: it is washed and the material is separated from polluting substances. Afterwards, it goes through a dryer and is stored until the material is homogenized and crushed. It is done in several stages. Once this is done, you would be ready to go back into the productive cycle.
Chemical recycling: there are several processes, the best known are methanolysis and glycolysis. PET breaks down and the molecules that compose it separate. Then they are used to make PET again.
Energy recycling: a method of recycling energy from plastic waste. PET containers are burned and the heat is used for another process or to produce electricity. "