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By Michael Rytting
Gatorade bottles, like the majority of consumer sports drink plastic bottles, are made from only one type of plastic. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the plastic of choice for making the bottles for the vast majority of commercially available consumer beverages. PET has several characteristics that make it attractive for drink manufacturers.
M/F Almost all plastic bottles have a symbol on them to indicate that they can be recycled, and to indicate what type of plastic they are made of so they can be sorted for recycling. The symbol is a triangle made of arrows. Inside the triangle is a number. The number identifies the type of plastic. In the case of Gatorade bottles, a number 1 is in the triangle, which refers to PET.
M/F PET is a polyester that has become very common in food packaging. It is tough and easy to process. PET does not absorb water, and it is also flexible enough to allow a liquid to expand when frozen without breaking the bottle.
M/F Most plastics are readily recyclable. PET is no exception, but it is rarely recycled back into bottles. PET is recycled by washing and shredding it, and then it is reprocessed into fibers to be used in a variety of applications. One of the most common applications is making fleece for clothing. Polar fleece, the most common synthetic fleece, often contains recycled PET.
M/F The manufacturer of Gatorade is not the only one that chooses PET for beverage containers. It's used for many types of beverages: water, juices and soft drinks. Its toughness, light weight and low cost have made it a top choice in the industry.