Plastic bottle

A one-U.S.-gallon plastic bottle of antifreeze

A plastic bottle is a bottle constructed from plastic. Plastic bottles are typically used to store liquids such as water, soft drinks, motor oil, cooking oil, medicine, shampoo, milk, and ink. The size ranges from very small sample bottles to large carboys.


Plastic bottles were first used commercially in 1875[1] but remained relatively expensive until the early 1960s when high-density polyethylene was introduced.[2] They quickly became popular with both manufacturers and customers due to their lightweight nature and relatively low production and transportation costs compared with glass bottles.[3][4][5] However, the biggest advantage plastic bottles have over glass is their superior resistance to breakage, in both production and transportation. Except for wine and beer, the food industry has almost completely replaced glass bottles with plastic bottles.


A plastic bottle cap
Plastic bottles before processing

Plastic bottles are formed using a variety of techniques. The choice of material varies. depending upon application.

For non-bottle applications, fluorination of plastic can provide compliance with state and federal regulations. An example would be fluorinated plastic fuel tanks used for lawn and garden equipment, automobiles, etc.


Health and environmental issues

There is ongoing concern as to the use of plastics in consumer food packaging solutions, environmental impact of the disposal of these products, as well as concerns regarding consumer safety. Karin Michaels, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, suggests that toxins leaching from plastics might be related to disorders such as infertility and cancer in humans.[8]

In the United States, plastic water bottles are regulated by the FDA which also inspects and samples bottled water plants periodically. Plastic water bottle plants hold a low priority for inspection due to a continuously good safety record.[9] In the past, the FDA maintained that there was a lack of human data showing plastics pose health problems, however in January 2010, the FDA reversed its opinion saying they now have concerns about health risks.[8]


Resin identification code for PET plastic products

Plastic bottles are marked at their base with the Resin identification code to indicate the material used:

See also


  1. Ponting, Clive. A green history of the world. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1991.
  2. "The History of soft drink Timeline". Retrieved 2008-04-23.
  3. "Plastic vs. Glass - Why Plastic Containers Are Better". Packaging of the World. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  4. "The Advantages of Plastic Bottles". Seattle Pi. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  5. "Benefits of Plastic Packaging". Plastic Packaging. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  8. 1 2 "Plastic packaging is injurious to health". Retrieved 3 May 2015.


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