PET Water Bottles

PET Plastic Water Bottles

PET plastic is the main packaging material used for soft drinks. In the UK, almost 95%Zenith International, UK Bottled Water Report,  April 2014 of bottled water found on supermarket shelves is packaged in PET plastic, with the remainder being sold in glass or cans.

This page looks at why PET is used for containing naturally sourced water as well as addressing a few common misunderstandings about it.

PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate. It is one of the safest plastics for storing soft drinks and has a number of attributes that make it perfect for bottled water:

1. PET bottles are robust 

PET is a strong plastic which is virtually unbreakable and does not shatter if it does happen to break. This makes it an excellent choice for bottled water as it is completely safe for carrying whilst you are on-the-go or participating in sporting activities.

2. PET bottles are lightweight

Bottled water producers are constantly working to ‘lightweight’ their bottles to ensure the minimal amount of plastic is used and the bottle is easy to carry when you are out-and-about.

In 2013, the Natural Hydration Council (NHC) surveyed its members and found out they have reduced the amount of plastic in their bottles by an average of 12% since 2008.

3. PET bottles are 100% recyclable 

PET water bottles are 100% recyclable and almost all local authorities in the UK accept plastic bottles as part of the household collection schemeRecoup UK Household Plastics Collection Survey, 2015. Where local authorities do not collect plastics, the bottles can be taken to a local household waste and recycling centre. They can also be recycled in recycling bins in town centres and shopping centres.

The latest survey results from RecoupRecoup UK Household Plastics Collection Survey, 2015 showed that in 2014, over half (57%) of plastic bottles (mainly PET or HDPE) entering the household waste were collected for recycling. In comparison, 44% of ridged plastic packaging and 30% for pots, tubs and trays were collected for recycling during the same period.

4. PET bottles protect the quality of naturally sourced water

Over 90% of bottled water sold in this country is either natural mineral or spring waterZenith International, UK Bottled Water Report, April 2014.  These naturally sourced waters are perfectly drinkable from source, meaning they don’t need any chemical treatment. The water comes from a protected underground source and is bottled. The PET container ensures the water is carefully safeguarded right up until you drink it.

5. PET bottles are transparent

PET allows for the content of the bottle to remain visible, letting people see the quality product inside the container. This is clearly why it is great for bottled water!

‘Water’ lot of confusion!

There are a number of misunderstandings about PET plastic and bottled water. PET is completely safe and complies with all European and national legal requirements. Here are some common myths explained:

Myth: There is Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic water bottles.
Fact: There is no BPA used in the manufacturing of PET plastic.
The plastic material used to contain naturally sourced bottled waters found on supermarket shelves is made of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). There is no BPA used in the manufacture of PET or Bisphenol S (BPS). PET is the main packaging used for beverages, it is completely safe and complies with all European and national legal requirements.

Myth: Drinking bottled water that’s been left in a car can give you cancer.
Fact: There are no carcinogens in PET plastic.
It is a myth that plastic water bottles left in cars will leach carcinogens into the water. A health scare began in 2002 when a Japanese television programme broadcast a theory that plastic water bottles were unsafe. These claims have since been discredited by Cancer Research UK.

Myth: Freezing plastic water bottles can release cancer causing chemicals into the water when it defrosts.
Fact: There are no carcinogens in PET plastic.
Again, this is a health scare which was started by the Japanese television programme which led to a group of hoax emails that have been doing the rounds online and have been discredited by Cancer Research UK.

Myth: Plastic water bottles can’t be recycled.
Fact: PET water bottles are 100% recyclable.
All bottled water found on supermarket shelves can be recycled. This includes the cap and label. For more information about plastic bottle recycling visit Recycle Now.

Myth: All bottled water is just tap water in a bottle.
Fact: Over 90% of bottled water sold in this country is either natural mineral or spring water.
Both natural mineral water and spring water must:

“Bottled drinking water”, sometimes known as “Table water” or “Purified water”, is drinking water which is bottled and is neither spring water nor natural mineral water. It can come from a variety of sources, including municipal supplies The Natural Mineral, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water Regulations 2007.

To download the PET Plastic Water Bottles fact sheet click here: Download