Skip to main content
How to Recycle PET / PETE 1 - Water and Soft Drink Bottles

How to Recycle PET / PETE 1 - Water and Soft Drink Bottles

PET or PETE 1 plastics are the most commonly used type of plastic and is used in bottles for water, soft drink and mouthwash.

As a food jar, it will often contain mayonnaise, premixed salad dressings, honey and spreads like peanut butter. You will also find PET plastic in microwavable food trays, biscuit trays, salad domes and some shampoo and conditioner bottles. 

Many people reuse PET containers, especially water bottles and there is quite a deal of debate about chemical leaching when PET 1 plastic is reused, especially when subjected to heat and light. It is best to not reheat any kind of plastic if you intend to consume it's contents. Heat tends to promote chemical leaching from the plastic into your water. And remember that heat comes from many sources. Don’t leave your plastic water bottle in sunny places like in your car. 

There is also considerable information around in relation to PET water bottles dropping microplastics into consumables inside. Most microplastics in bottled water come from the container lid or the water itself. 

PET plastic is generally recyclable and it goes into your council recycle bin. Please ensure that the container is empty and rinsed before you dispose of it in your recycle bin.

Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Science Notes
PET plastic abbreviates from Polyethylene terephthalate.

PET softens at 55 degrees Celsius, has a smooth surface, will take high impact without losing shape and is perfect for beverages because of its moisture proof qualities and resistance to solvents.  
Related Tip
In the recycling process, PET plastic is baled into different colours, then washed and flaked and caps and labels are removed. From here the flake is dried and either melted or made into pellets to be further treated and turned into RPET (food contact approved recycled PET).  

RPET is then  recycled into soft drink bottles, detergent bottles, fibre and carpet, tote bags, furniture, pillow and sleeping bag filling, fleecy jackets and even lumber for outdoor decking.