PET

PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, it's a thermoplastic resin, which belongs to the family of polyesters, made by phthalates.

Form and Physical Features
PET may assume an amorphous or semi-crystalline form depending both on the type of production process and on the melting temperatures, with a transparent colour in the first case and opaque and white in the second.
It starts to degrade around 300° and it decomposes at the temperature of 340° C, with the production of acetaldehyde and other compounds.

Use
Pet finds a range of uses due to its electrical properties, chemical resistance, high temperature performance, auto extinguishing, fast molding.
It's usually indicated with the initials PET, PETE, PETP or PET-P.
The European Commission Directive 2002/72/EC and the following amendment (EC No 975/2009) confirms the compatibility of PET with food contact.

Recyclability
PET, in addition to full compatibility with food, has a low environmental impact, as a matter of fact the terephthalate can be easily recycled both through a chemical process and mechanically.
The chemical process involves the powderization of the material and its subsequent depolymerization which converts the polyethylene terephthalate in PTA, purified terephthalate acid, dimethylene terephthalate or ethylene monoglicole. The depolymerization is accomplished through glycolysis, hydrolysis or methanolysis. The result is an excellent quality product and not depreciated, but it's convenient only for a large-scale production.
Mechanical recycling doesn't produce an optimum product, but it's convenient if the quantities were not high.
It consists in five phases: selection, cutting, washing, extrusion and packaging.
The materials once routed on a conveyor belt are sorted by colour and type before being reduced in small pieces. The plastic is then washed to remove any impurities and heated to be extruded into pellets. Last phase consists in wrapping and labelling.

It's the symbol with which the Society of the Plastics Industry Association (which represents one of the largest manufacturing industries in the U.S.) identify the PET commercially.
The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. rates the highest representatives of the entire production chain of different plastic materials among its members, including raw material suppliers.
It employs about 1 million of workers and organizes every three years the world's fair NPE, one of the most important world events about plastic.

THE PRODUCTION CYCLE

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