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PET Bottles are Safe for use and Re-use
Bangalore Based Plastic Packaging Group Manjushree Extrusions clears the air on common misconceptions about Plastics
PET, the polymer resin that is widely used to create packaging for food and beverages has had to fight unfounded rumours for the last several years. PET is a 100% food grade and 100% recyclable plastic that has been used and continues to be used world over to pack bottled water and various food products like Oil, Ketch-up, Ghee, etc. PET is the most widely recycled plastic and has the least environmental impact among all plastics; even fully burnt PET only releases Carbon dioxide and water! But the utility and convenience of PET is phenomenal. A PET bottle of only 35g is sufficient to safely pack 1.5 litres of carbonated soft-drink, without any danger of breakage or explosion, even when internal pressure gets as high as 5 or 6 bars.
The most common myth being propagated about PET is that PET Resin in bottles contains a potentially carcinogenic element (DiEthylHydroxylAmine or DEHA). This myth concludes that repeated washing and rinsing can cause the plastic to break down and the carcinogens (cancer-causing chemical agents) to be released into the stored liquid. The fact is that DEHA has been cleared by The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food contact applications and would not pose any health risk. PET Bottles can be re-used as many times as one wants without any risk whatsoever. The only precaution required is to ensure that they are kept clean and devoid of any bacterial growth (just like any other container made of any material)!
Speaking on the use of PET, Mr. Vimal Kedia, Managing Director, Manjushree Extrusions, said, “PET is certainly among the safest plastic used in packaging; the fact that every authority across the globe including the US FDA have found it safe enough for packing food products is a testimony to its safety. PET is safe to use, re-use and recycle. Unfortunately it is a common practice to give all plastic material a bad name and PET has consequently suffered at the hands of those who spread unfounded rumours and those who pass it on mindlessly. It is also easily forgotten that PET actually offers several advantages such as transparent packaging, unbreakable packaging, chemical inertness, etc, making it very suitable for packing different liquids including drinking water”.
Another popular myth about plastic is about the number found at the bottom of every water bottle (varying from 1-7). According to this common misconception, ‘the number indicates, in reverse, the number of times the plastic in the bottle has been recycled. It is therefore considered that only bottles with a number greater than 5 are safe to use and the rest are not safe’. This myth is totally misplaced because the purpose served by the number has nothing to do with recycling.
The number is used to indicate the type of plastic that is used to make that particular bottle. It is a useful feature for sorting plastic waste because it helps in identifying similar types of plastic and in treating them together and safely. Thus the number below the plastic bottle is actually an identification number! The number 1 appearing below a plastic bottle indicates that the bottle is made of PET, number 2 indicates that the bottle is made of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
“Manjushree will continue its efforts to educate consumers about the ‘truth’ as far as plastics are concerned because we believe that plastics, when used, disposed and recycled responsibly, are superior to most alternates like Glass, Paper and Aluminum as far as packaging application and ease of use are concerned. Also, it is a sobering thought that if we stop using plastics, a major substitute for plastics will be paper and a tree takes 12 years to give us the first ream of paper! On the other hand plastics can continue to be re-cycled through out its life, causing minimum impact on the environment”
In the context of recycling, it is interesting to note that India’s recycling capacity is greater than the consumption of plastics and therefore India imports post-consumer plastic waste for recycling. And talking specifically about PET, one will hardly see empty PET bottles lying waste because in addition to meeting excess capacity for recycling plastic waste, PET is also a favourite among rag pickers / ‘kabadiwalas’
In order to bring in a sense of responsibility for plastic disposal, we should have a proper system for waste management in place. Such systems are already practiced in Europe and USA, where plastic waste is bifurcated from paper, metal and glass, enabling effective disposal and treatment of plastics. Individual attitude towards plastic disposal and management of waste must also change. If people are educated and initiated to take up even small measures such as avoiding flushing of plastic, littering plastic, etc, it would lead to a better impact.
About Manjushree Extrusions:
Manjushree Extrusions is engaged in providing advanced packaging solutions through manufacture of specialty plastic packaging products for domestic /export markets to leading companies in FMCG, Pharma and Food Processing sectors through an ongoing process of research oriented design & development. The company diversified into manufacture of PET Pre-forms during FY 2008 (further expansion in capacity underway during FY 2009), with specific focus on the carbonated soft drink sector. Manjushree has made a composite issue of equity shares during FY 2008 and is currently listed only on the Bombay Stock Exchange, post voluntary delisting of its Equity Shares from Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Guwahati Stock Exchanges.
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About Aim High Consulting:
Aim High Consulting is a a holistic communication consultancy firm with a multi-city presence.