What is PET?

Plastics like PET most likely touch your everyday life. Polyethylene Terephthalate, known commonly as PET or PETE is best known as the clear plastic used for water and soda bottle containers. As a raw material, PET is globally recognized as a safe, non-toxic, strong, lightweight, flexible material that is 100% recyclable. In fact, it’s THE most widely recycled plastic in the world! Virtually all municipal recycling programs in the US accept PET packaging, with recycling of thermoformed PET containers on the rise (let’s keep that trend going!). PET can be identified by looking at the bottom or backs of containers for the #1 resin identification code – a symbol recognized by the #1 in the middle surrounded by “chasing arrows”.

EcoStar was founded with the belief that the recycling of existing PET packaging, thereby conserving natural resources, is the most responsible solution for the preservation of resources and reduction of PET containers as landfill waste.

Learn more about EcoStar’s sustainability position

PET Uses

Virgin PET, including recycled PET, can be used for plastic water and soda bottles, food packaging for cakes, cut fruit and salads and as retail blister and clamshell packaging for cosmetics, razors and toys. It can also be found in containers for peanut butter, shampoo and salad dressings and for carpeting, clothing, sleeping bags and much, much more. PET is so prevalent that it’s important, when and where possible, to recycle it for reuse. EcoStar not only recycles bottles, but we’re leading the industry in recycling and extruding PET as rollstock with up to 15% post-consumer thermoforms!


History of PET

  • In the mid-1940’s DuPont chemists searching for materials for use in textile fibers synthesized PET.
  • Film was created in the 1950’s by stretching a thin extruded sheet of PET which is found today in photographic, video, X-ray and packaging films.
  • In the 70’s blow-stretch molding of PET in shatterproof bottles was developed.
  • A recycling mill in PA begins accepting residential plastics in 1972.
  • In 1977 the first PET bottle was recycled.
  • Major US cities in the 80’s begin establishing curbside pick-up programs.
  • In 2001 major recyclers embrace single stream recycling which dramatically increases the recycling rate of various recyclable materials
  • Over 1,200 cities are reported as accepting rigid, non-bottle, plastic packaging containers according to plasticsmakesitpossible.com.
  • Today PET is the #1 most commonly recycled material with a growing number of consumers and reclaimers recycling PET thermoformed packaging.

For more interesting PET and plastics recycling facts and figures click here. 



The EcoStar logo can be found on food and retail packaging on shelves across North America. The logo embodies our commitment to keep PET packaging out of landfills.