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Why Recycling of Pet is Necessary

Why Recycling of Pet is Necessary

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Published by Kapil Rohilla

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Kapil Rohilla on Mar 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic resin & a form of polyester. PET is a polymer that is formed by combining two monomers1. Modified ethylene glycol2. Purified terephthalic acidPET is a type of plastic labeled with the #1 code on or near the bottomof bottles or containers and is commonly used to package of soft drinks,water, juice, peanut butter, bakery goods,frozen foods,salad dressingsand oils, cosmetics and household cleaner many other products.PET is a popular package for food and non food products.Manufactureruse PET plastics to package products because of its strength, thermo-stability and transparency. Customers choose PET because it is inexpen
sive, lightweight, resealable, shatter-resistant recyclable.
According to the American Chemistry Council, PET has been approvedas safe by the FDA and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). In1994, ILSI stated that "PET polymer has a long history of safe consumeruse, which is supported by human experience and numerous toxicitystudies." The American Chemistry Council cautions that products madewith PET be used only as indicated by the manufacturer. For example,the microwavable trays are only to be used one time and not to storeor prepare foods other than those for which they are intended.Recent studies have shown that reusing bottles made of PET can in factbe dangerous. PET was found to break down over time and leach intothe beverage when the bottles were reused. The toxin DEHA alsoappeared in the water sample from reused water bottles. DEHA hasbeen shown to cause liver problems, other possible reproductivedifficulties, and is suspected to cause cancer in humans. Therefore, it's best to recycle these bottles without reusing them.
How Quickly Does PET Breakdown?
 PET(E) -
This is the easiest plastic to recycle. Add to it that these materials arerelatively cheap and you have the perfect container for soda bottles, water bottles,clamshell packaging, potato chip bags, produce bags and several other grocery-typepackaging. Actual breakdown time for this type of plastic under perfect conditions can
range from 5 to 10 years.
In a Landfill, How Long Does Trash Really Last?
We’ve all been there— 
at the beach, empty beer bottle in hand, a trash can, but no recycling bin in sight.So we dump the bottle in the normal trash, perhaps feeling
guilty we weren’t able to recycle it, perhaps
not. Most likely, we rapidly forget about it
out of sight, out of mind, and onto the next beer.
The bottle, like the rest of our trash, may slip easily from our hands and minds, but it doesn’t leave our 
collective refuse piles so quickly. Landfills, which are lined with clay and plastic, layered with soil, andcapped, are not extremely hospitable when it comes to microbial degradation. The three necessarycomponents for decomposition
sunlight, moisture, oxygen
are hard to come by in a landfill; items aremore likely to mummify than to break down.But how long do things last? These rough estimates, compiled from U.S. National Park Service, United
States Composting Council, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Sciences, and the New York 
City government, give an idea of how long our consumables remain after we’ve kissed them goodbye.
Glass Bottle
One Million Years
Okay, we don’t
know whether a glass bottle takes a million years, twomillion years, or a million years and one day to degrade since no one has been
monitoring them for that long. But suffice it to say, when a glass bottle isn’t
recycled, it sticks around for a really, really long time. Glass is primarily of composed of silica
the same material as sand
 —and doesn’t break down evenunder the harshest environments. Given the relatively inert conditions of a landfill, it’s likely the bottle of 
beer our forefathers sipped is still at large.
Plastic Bags
Unknown, Possibly 500+ Years
 Plastic bags also have a hard time decomposing; estimates range from ten totwenty years when exposed to air to 500
1,000 years in a landfill. Since
microbes don’t recognize polyethylene— 
the major component of plasticbags
as food, breakdown rates by this means in landfills is virtually nil.Though plastic bags can photodegrade, sunlight in landfills is scarce. Madewith petroleum and rarely recycled, many cities have banned them in order to curb consumption andprevent their long-lasting presence in litter
 —an island you don’t want to
Plastic Beverage Bottles
Unknown, Possible 500+ years
Bottles face the same problem as plastic bags. Most soda and waterbottles are composed of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a petroleum-based product that tends to last a long time in a landfill. Even newerbottles that claim to be biodegradable or photodegradable may takemuch longer than advertised. According to the Air and WasteAssociation, biodegradable plastics made with the addition of starch may just simply disintegrateinto smaller non-
degradable pieces: they don’t break down; they break up.

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