PET vs PVC – Which material is better for Packaging?

Many types of plastic materials are available to produce packaging. Here, we’ve outlined a few key points of difference between two of the most commonly used plastics for packaging i.e. PVC and PET.PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is a cheap plastic that is widely used in construction, and may often times be seen when creating pipes, hoses, cables, and roofing material whereas PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is more commonly used for producing containers for storage of food and a large variety of other consumable items.

PVC actually breaks down with exposure to UV rays. PVC will break down over time, regardless of sun exposure, and it also leaches a chemical onto whatever it is in contact with. From the very beginning PVC emits dangerous compounds, and well after it is disposed of the material can still have negative impacts. PVC ends up either in landfills or incinerated. When burned, PVC emits hydrogen chloride and dioxin gases that can be very harmful to everything around it. Since PVC can add chemicals to whatever it comes into contact with, it is not a safe option when storing or displaying food or edibles. Even products that are not edible may be harmed by the chemical output of PVC, and the product can be changed or damaged over long term exposure to PVC. On the other hand, PET contains and UV stabilizer that makes it last through contact with the sun and UV rays. PET has a higher thermal conductivity, which ultimately means it requires less energy to mould it when thermoforming and a quicker cycle time. PET can be recycled and remade into future plastic containers or plastic items, and can also be remade into various new products such as clothing. PET also has a higher recycling rate than most types of plastics.

The recycling process of PET has minimal impact on the environment, and is very similar to the process behind recycling paper. No harmful gasses are emitted, and the PET containers can be completely remade into more PET containers, eliminating high levels of material loss through the process. Recycling PET is also easy to do, and can be deposited in most neighborhood recycling pickup deposits instead of complicated recycling procedures that can be a hassle.

PET is far more versatile than PVC. PET has no harmful impact on the variety of types of materials that may come into contact with it, whereas PVC should be limited to mainly industrial use in building or construction. PET is also much more environmentally friendly than PVC and can be recycled. PET also has more long term lasting power since it will not harm or alter materials stored in or around it over long periods of time.

It is becoming increasingly common to see customers and regulatory authorities demanding the use of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) in food packaging instead of the traditional PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride).

Further, when looking at the direct cost, PET and PVC are similarly priced, so surely this makes PET the clear winner due to its better material characteristics and environmental advantages.

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