Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, #1)

Note: Resin profile definitions, their properties and applications (listed as Demand) are taken directly from The Plastics Technology Center.

PET is a clear, tough plastic with good gas and moisture barrier properties.

Typical End Uses

This plastic is used in soft drink bottles and other blow-molded containers, although sheet applications are increasing. Cleaned, recycled PET flakes and pellets are in great demand for spinning fiber for carpet yarns and producing fiberfill and geotextiles. Other applications include strapping, molding compounds, and food and non food containers. (American Plastics Council, adapted from Modern Plastics Encyclopedia, 1995.) See National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) http://www.napcor.com/index.html for more complete information on PET resin, recycling, and marketing information.


In 1997, 4.2 billion pounds of virgin thermoplastic polyester resin were produced in the U.S (SPI). In March 1996, Franklin & Associates estimated for EPA the amount of PET in products discarded in the municipal waste stream. Franklin & Associates estimated that 780,000 tons of PET products were discarded in the waste stream in 1994. Franklin also estimated that 350,000 tons of PET were recycled in the U.S. in 1994.

The CIWMB’s Rigid Plastics Packaging program has estimated the amount of PET rigid containers sold in California at about 121,000 tons in 1996, with about 44,000 tons recovered in the state.

See also the SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association (SPI) web site for information and data on PET production.


Estimates are not available for the amount of PET postconsumer resin (PCR) used as manufacturing feedstock in California. In general, recycled PET can be incorporated and is used to manufacture the following items:

  • Beverage containers
  • Clothing
  • Hats
  • Luggage
  • Health care product containers
  • Fiberfill (insulation)
  • Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Strapping

NAPCOR provides a complete listing of companies using PCR PET and products manufactured from recycled PET.


For more information contact: Business Assistance, bzassist@calrecycle.ca.gov.