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Plastic Bottles: Making, Pros and Cons

Of the various kinds of containers used for domestic purposes, plastic bottles are one of the most commonly used. As we can understand from the name itself, the bottles are entirely made of plastic. Typically used for storing liquids such as soft drinks, water, medicine, oil, milk, ink, and definitely water. The sizes though vary from simple small bottles to large carboys.

Plastic Bottles: Making, Pros and Cons

The first commercial use of plastic bottles was in 1875, but, it remained relatively expensive until the introduction of high-density polyethylene, which happened in the early 1960’s. This new introduction quickly became popular among both customers as well as manufacturers. The primary reason being its relatively light weight, relatively low transportation and production costs compared to glass bottles. The biggest advantage of plastic bottles over glass bottles is their superiority in resistance to breakage during production and transportation. Due to this simple reason, other than wine and beer, almost every other food industry has replaced glass bottles with plastic bottles.

Now let’s talk about the various techniques used in the formation of plastic bottles. The material used for the formation depends upon the purpose the bottles are going to be used for.

  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

This is the most widely used resin for the formation of plastic bottles. The material is impact resistant, economical, and also provides a barrier against moisture. HDPE also has the capability to be compatible with a wide range of items which includes caustics and acids, but it is not compatible with solvents.

  • Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Being quite similar to the HDPE in composition. These items are less rigid and usually less resistant than HDPE against chemicals. It is much more translucent and flexible. It is relatively more expensive compared to the normal HDPE and thus is only used in squeezing applications.

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE, PET)

Commonly used for food products such as water bottles, carbonated beverages and so on. This item has the properties of being a good oil and alcohol barrier. Other than being resistant to chemicals, it provides a high degree of pressure impact and also high tensile strength.

  • Polycarbonate (PC)

This is a special form of plastic which is quite clear and is basically used for the purpose of making milk and water bottles and also making plastic jars. Containers with high capacities are made using this form of plastic.

After discussing the various forms of plastic and their significance lets’s come down to the basic advantages and disadvantages of using plastic bottles. Firstly let’s talk about the disadvantages or cons:

  • Threat of plastic debris

It certainly goes without saying that the waste produced from the use of plastic are undoubtedly a huge threat. Plastic debris certainly continues to remain a concern to the eco-system, endangering wildlife and filling up the oceans.

  • Time required for degrading

Plastic takes up to 500-1000 years to degrade, so it goes without saying that places where plastic is dumped, the landfill sites, become a toxic and useless land for years. Additionally researchers have proved that these plastic landfill sites release an amount of toxic and harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Despite these concerning disadvantages, plastic remains to be one of the most popularly used items for packaging and containers. There must be some very dominating reasons why plastic remains to be used on such a large scale despite its harmful effects. So, let’s talk about its advantages.

  • Flexibility of plastic

Before deciding a material to be used for packaging, a factory needs to consider a lot of aspects which will affect the final price and safety of the product. Aspects like weight, shape, cost and recyclability need to be addressed. In such a situation the biggest benefit of using plastic remains its flexibility. Even though glass can be molded into all kinds of shapes, plastic, has even more possibilities.

  • Transportation and storage of plastic

Plastic packaging usually takes up a lot less space thus allowing more products to be stored in the same space. Being much lighter than glass, customers who are used to buying products in bulk benefit from it. Thus, even in the department of transport, since plastic packaging takes less space to store more items can be loaded on the Lorries.

Thus, after all, these discussions we can see that plastic remains the first choice of manufacturers, despite its consequences to the environment around us.

 

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