Since the late 1970s, plastic bottles have been widely adopted as packaging materials for beverages, detergent and other consumer goods. Compounds such as polyethylene terephthalate have given plastic bottles several advantages, including toughness, energy savings and ease of production. Plastic bottles are economical to make, safe to use and recyclable.
Unlike glass containers, plastic bottles are rugged and resilient; they don't shatter into sharp pieces when dropped, making products and packaging safe to handle. Because plastics are polymers -- long molecules made by linking many short ones together -- they have useful physical properties such as toughness and resistance to chemicals. The same resilience makes plastic bottles unlikely to leak or burst, protecting the contents as well as exterior shipping cartons.
Plastic materials are easy to mold into a wide variety of bottle shapes, improving their appearance and utility. For example, manufacturers incorporate integral handles, measurement marks and pouring lips into some types of plastic bottles. In addition, plastics can range from crystal clear to any shade or color, whether translucent or opaque, making products and brands easy to identify by sight. Plastic bottles require no paint; the coloring material is mixed into the plastic resin, so it never runs, rubs or washes off.
Plastic bottles are lighter in weight than their glass counterparts, reducing energy and costs required to ship products. Because plastics are soft and have relatively low melting points, plastic bottles take less energy to manufacture than glass.
After first use, PET and other types of plastic bottles are easily recycled into many types of secondary products, including carpet fibers, pillow stuffing, tote bags and strapping materials. Some beverage bottles and nonfood containers also use recycled plastic. The light weight of plastic bottles minimizes the cost of transporting materials to recycling centers.
Plastic bottles are widely used to pack or carry a lot of products. These bottles are adaptable as they can be sterilized and filled. When you buy plastic bottles at cheaper or discounted rates, you are bound to save a lot of money. When you lower the packaging cost, you increase the profit.