Perfect Packaging Materials
There's a wide variety of plastic types, but they all have something in common: They're the heart of the packaging industry. The best plastic for you depends on your product, because they each have distinctive strengths that make them well-suited for one thing or another. Understanding these differences and knowing which are most commonly used in your industry will help you choose the best possible option for your product.
To help explain the different types of plastic packaging materials available, PI will be starting a new blog series detailing these different products. We'll explore the ins and outs of each type of plastic, sharing our industry expertise and giving you the best tools available when you're looking for new packing materials. We hope you’ll use these resources to stay informed about the packaging options available to you.
PET/RPET/APET are all types of polyethylene terephthalates. And while they may not realize it, most people use some type of PET plastic every single day. PET plastics are the material that soda bottles and water bottles are made out of—without it, we'd all still drink out of breakable glass bottles.
Polyethylene terephthalates come in three different forms:
- PET - Normal polyethylene terephthalate
- APET - The same material as PET, but in a different stage. This is PET in its amorphous, molding stage.
- RPET - This is "reprocessed" PET, and incorporates post industrial regrind in extrusion. PET is one of the most practical plastics for recycling—the plastic bottle you recycle today could be used to make a Polar fleece jacket!
One caution to be aware of with PET is crystallization. At PI, we always keep a close eye on PET during the thermoforming process. If you heat it for too long, you'll notice that the material starts to turn cloudy, hazy and even brittle, making the packaging both ineffective and unattractive. After all, who would want to drink crystal clear spring water out of a murky plastic bottle?
Of course, PET materials are just one of the types we specialize in at PI, and it's not the right call for everything. Please keep checking back for more on this and other plastics as our series continues.