Plastics come in many varieties and it can be difficult to figure out which types to use for our various needs. Seemingly similar, different types of plastics vary more than just in their names, but also drastically so when it comes to how they are produced and how they should best be utilized. Ways that may be unseen or unconscious to consumers or customers, can impact the product housed in or around the various types of plastics.
One common type of plastic is Polyvinyl chloride, familiar to many as PVC. This is a cheap plastic that is widely used in construction, and may often times be seen when creating pipes, hoses, cables, and roofing material.
Another type of plastic is called PET. PET, technically called Plyethylene terephthalate, is commonly used in packaging with containers for storage or food. PET is a lightweight and durable and ideal for use around a multitude of products such as food or nonperishable supplies.
Unlike PET, PVC actually breaks down with exposure to UV rays. PVC will break down over time regardless of sun exposure, and it also leaches 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 would not be 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.
PET contains and UV stabilizer that makes it last through contact with the sun and UV rays. 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.