Polypropylene (PP) vs. Polyethylene (PET) plastic | My coffee brands blog (2023)

The versatility of plastic makes it a ubiquitous material. It is used to make cheap bag decorations. ButNot all plastics are the samejwill not perform the same functionsin all areas. Although many different types of plastic can do thisverjto feelHowever, the properties of different types of plastic can differ greatly.

two ofThe most used plastics are polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PET).. Both PP and PET are very versatile. They do not have the same properties and should not be used interchangeably. PP and PET have their own strengths and weaknesses resulting from the different properties of the materials used.

Polypropylene (PP) vs. Polyethylene (PET) plastic | My coffee brands blog (1)

What is Polypropylene (PP)?

Polypropylene is made through a process calledChain growth polymerization from propylene monomer. PP is the second most used plastic in the world. PP has a variety of uses inApparel, medical and industrial applications, packaging and labelling.

What is polyethylene (PET)?

Polyethylene is the most commonly available plastic in the world. One-third of global plastic consumption is PET.Scientifically, PET is known as polyethylene terephthalate.. Many PET variants are available on the market, which differ in manufacturing processes and characteristic properties.

Polypropylene (PP) vs. Polyethylene (PET) plastic | My coffee brands blog (2)
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hard fight

Both PP and PET are versatile. They have unique features that set them apart. Both PP and PET have their pros and cons.While PP may be suitable for some specific purposes, PET may be suitable for other specific purposes.Let's discuss the different features to facilitate the decision between PP and PET.


PET plastic is made using a process calledThermoformen. During thermoforming, the plasticis heated to a very high temperature where it can be formed into virtually any shape. PET is flexible with small forces, and even the smallest design changes can be exactly replicated by PET plastic.

This does not mean that PP is in any wayNOversatile.PP is also very flexible and can be molded into any shape.but in comparisonPET is more versatile and malleable,especially when working with different designs.


Both PP and PET are suitableeco-balanced. Both plastics can be easily recycled without significant losses. Although PP and PET are the same in this regard, it is important to mention thisRespect for the environment is an important factor to consider when choosing a plastic. Both PP and PET can score in this regard.

take a look"4 types of custom coffee sleeves' to display coffee mug/box options for your coffee shop.

Polypropylene (PP) vs. Polyethylene (PET) plastic | My coffee brands blog (3)


PET plastic is generally translucent in nature.. Made through a few processes, PET plastic is remarkably transparent and transmits light as well as glass. For this reason,PET is often used for plastic cups. Customers would like to see clearly through plastic, especially when it is used to contain something as mundane and meaningful as water or other beverages.


In comparison, PP is much more opaque than PET. Therefore, it is used less often than plastic cups. Even so, it is used because it gives the mug a different look, especially when added with colors.

Take a break from learning about plastics for a comprehensive guide on how to become the perfect barista in "How to become a Barista 101“.

temperature resistance

When used for take-away containers, heat/cold resistance and filling temperatures become significant,Compared to PET, PP tolerates slightly higher filling temperaturesbut not from afar. During filling temperaturePET plastic bottle withstands 160 degrees Fahrenheit,PP plastic can withstand filling temperatures up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. It may not be a significant difference, but it should be considered for sensitive cases.

PP plasticbetter resist external heatlike the pet. At the same time, PET plasticwithstands the cold outside much betterthan the PP. Both PP plastic and PET plastic have a wide range of temperature resistance, and the superiority of one type of plastic over another type of plastic is very small.

Polypropylene (PP) vs. Polyethylene (PET) plastic | My coffee brands blog (4)

Impact resistance

PET plastic holds up well compared to PP plastic. It has greater durability than PP.PET plastic is also less likely to break on impact.. This may be important in some companies, but it's probably not an important factor to consider for most companies.

Resistance to external elements

plastics in generalThey do an excellent job of keeping the outside elements out of the plastic case.. Both PET plastic and PP plastic are extremely resistantacids, fats and oils. PP plastic is bettermoisture barrierand alcohol in relation to PET. But when it comes to aoxygen barrierPET performs better in comparison. As oxygen is the main cause of corrosion and degradation, it is an important factor to consider when making decisions, especially when using plastic to wrap food.

(Video) 3 September RECOUP Plastic Recycling & Resources Opportunities & Challenges within Rigid Plastics

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Both PP and PET can be used very effectivelybrand your business. But both achieve this separately and both have their advantages.PP plastic can be printed with different colors, and it is not easy to rub.. For these purposes, PP plastic is a better option. But the problem that can arise is that these packets are printed oncecannot be reusedfor another use. That's why it's permanent. If demand is already known and supply barely meets demand, PP plastic is a safe bet.

See too "5 branding tips for small businesses' for tips on how to brand your business correctly.

But,PET plastic is not very easy to print. Paper, cardboard, or thin plastic sleeves are typically used for branding purposes. In this scenario, the same containers can be reused for different purposes, as the marking is an additional cover. Mango should only be added at the final stage if necessary. A more common example is used in the beverage industry. For example, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Diet Cola, etc. They are made by the same Coca-Cola Company. All these brands use the same PET bottles with the same shape and size. this way the samePET packaging can be used for various brands in a very simple and inexpensive way.. Because of this versatilityA company can order PET packaging in bulk and receive a volume discount. This is possible because branding can be done with custom cases.

Are you already thinking about your coffee shop and whether you are going to use it soon or not? Well, we encourage you to check it out."10 things to think about when designing a coffee shop logo

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There is no clear winner for each usage category. Every business has its own requirements and the choice of plastic should complement the requirements of that business.

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Thanks for reading! Now that you have an idea of ​​what kind of plastic to use for your coffee mugs, leave a comment below to let us know what you'd like to know more about.Book my coffee.

For more helpful tips on starting your small business, visit “8 things you should know before opening a coffee shop"Ö"7 things you should know before opening a restaurant“.

Book my coffeehelps small and medium-sized businesses, cafes and hospitality brands develop their identity through personalized coffee mugs, coffee sleeves and more. Join our exclusive Facebook groupRestaurant Brand Manufacturersto brainstorm with other passionate owners!

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What is the difference between polypropylene PP and polyethylene PET plastic? ›

PP plastic resists heat from outside better than PET. At the same time, PET plastic resists cold from outside much better than PP. Both PP plastic and PET plastic have a wide range of temperature resistance and the superiority of one kind of plastic over the other kind of plastic is by thin margins.

Which is better polyethylene or polypropylene? ›

Polypropylene is not as sturdy as polyethylene. Polypropylene is stiffer and resistant to chemicals and organic solvents compared to polyethylene. Polypropylene is pure, non-stretching and generally more rigid than polyethylene.

Is PET better than PP? ›

Since PET containers provide a better oxygen barrier than PP containers, they can preserve the taste and the aroma of food placed in them, but PP containers provide a better barrier to moisture as well as alcohol or chemicals. Both PET and PP containers work well to resist acids or grease and oils.

Is PP safer than PET? ›

Polypropylene is not only safer but it's also less at risk of containing other contaminants which can be harmful to dogs and cats.

Why is polypropylene better than polyethylene? ›

Of the two, polypropylene can withstand higher temperatures. It is more rigid and has a higher melting point than polyethylene. Also, polypropylene is used in food packaging, as it is food-safe and moisture-resistant. Polypropylene finds its way into packaging, carpets, ropes, and plastic parts.

Is polypropylene a food grade plastic? ›

Of the commercial plastics on the market today, polypropylene is considered one of the safest. It's FDA-approved for food contact, so you'll find polypropylene in food containers like those that hold yogurt, cream cheese, and butter products.

What are the problems with polyethylene? ›

Polyethylene is mainly extracted from petroleum or natural gas, of which there is a finite amount. Producing polyethylene takes a large amount of energy and also leads to high emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming and climate change.

What are the disadvantages of polyethylene? ›

  • High thermal expansion.
  • Poor weathering resistance.
  • Subject to stress cracking.
  • Difficult to bond.
  • Flammable.
  • Poor temperature capability.

Is polyethylene plastic the same as PET? ›

Polyethylene terephthalate, also called PET, is the name of a type of clear, strong, lightweight and 100% recyclable plastic.

What is the difference between polyethylene and PET? ›

HDPE plastics have higher temperature resistance and gas barrier protection than PET. PET offers better stress crack resistance and easier recyclability than HDPE. For your shipping needs, HDPE plastic is the best choice for shipping chemicals and hazardous goods, while PET packaging is ideal for perishable items.

Is PP more expensive than PET? ›

Cost. Polyethylene is generally less expensive, and low-density polyethylene can offer significant savings for high-volume shipping due to its lower weight. The lightweight nature of polypropylene packaging also contributes to low shipping costs, though the material itself is more expensive.

What is the safest plastic to drink from? ›

When you do use plastics, look for these resin codes which are considered safer: #2 HDPE, #4 LDPE, and #5 PP. Examples of #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene) include: bottled milk, water and juice, yogurt cups, and some plastic bags.

Is PP plastic safe to drink from? ›

Plastics #5 Polypropylene (PP) is considered to be the safest of all plastics, this is a robust plastic that is heat resistant. Because of its high heat tolerance, Polypropylene is unlikely to leach even when exposed to warm or hot water. This plastic is approved for use with food and beverage storage.

What is the safest plastic for food? ›

The safest plastic food storage containers are HDPE, LDPE, and PP plastics. These include juice and milk jugs, grocery bags, bread bags, produce bags, and food storage boxes. Food can be stored in these types of plastic containers without any toxins leaking.

How does polypropylene compare to polyethylene? ›

Polyethylene's monomer unit is ethylene, while polypropylene's monomer unit is propylene. The primary distinction between polyethylene and polypropylene is that polyethylene is produced by polymerizing ethylene monomer units, while polypropylene is produced by polymerizing propylene monomer units.

Where is polypropylene most commonly used? ›

Polypropylene is frequently used in manufacturing car batteries, bumpers, interior elements, and cladding. Packaging Material: Due to its low cost and flexibility, PP is used in various packaging forms and has replaced traditional materials such as paper, cellophane, and paper.

Is polyethylene cheaper than polypropylene? ›

Polypropylene tapes can have the same tensile strength and damage resistance as polyethylene tapes, the only difference being that they are more affordable than the latter. The downside, however, is that they can be noisy to use. Both of these polymers are commonly made into stock poly bags.

Is polyethylene plastic food safe? ›

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

While many plastics are only FDA compliant and food safe in their virgin (or unrecycled) state, recycled PET is an FDA approved plastic for food contact. It also repels microorganisms and doesn't corrode, making it an overall ideal material for food and beverage contact and storage.

Is Tupperware a polypropylene? ›

Most Tupperware products are made of LDPE or PP, and as such are considered safe for repeated use storing food items and cycling through the dishwasher.

Is polyethylene toxic to humans? ›

Polyethylene has been extensively reviewed by regulatory authorities and determined to be non-hazardous by normal routes of exposure including skin contact, inhalation and ingestion.

Why is polypropylene the best? ›

It offers excellent fatigue resistance and elasticity, securing it a well-deserved reputation for toughness and durability. Polypropylene has high insulation properties too, making it safe to use for plastic casing in electrical goods and cables.

How does polypropylene affect human health? ›

Polypropylene is generally considered safe for use, but you should still be wary of using plastics more often than you have to. The chemicals found in plastic products are proven to contribute to some cancers. While it's nearly impossible to avoid all plastic products, you can use as little plastic as possible.

Does polypropylene grow mold? ›

Biological resistance: It does not grow mold or deteriorate through, bacteria or fungi (at least in the short term). Insulation: Given its high resistance to electricity it is commonly used in electronic components.

What are the negative effects of polyethylene terephthalate? ›

Health Impacts of PET Products

Phthalates are linked with negative effects such as endocrine and reproductive disregulation, early puberty, endometriosis, and infertility [2]. PET also is known for its rigidity and does not degrade easily, making it an environmental burden.

Why should we not use polythene? ›

It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately, the bags don't break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.

Is polyethylene plastic cancerous? ›

No chemical carcinogenicity has been seen in implantation studies, although particles from Polyethylene implants can induce so-called solid-state carcinogenicity, which is a physical reaction to an implanted material.

What are the advantages of polyethylene plastic? ›

Benefits of Using Polyethylene for Large Plastic Products

Impact Resistance: One of the top benefits of using polyethylene is that it is impact resistant. This makes it a great option for things such as boats and large containers. Corrosion Resistance: This material is also known to be corrosion resistant.

Why is PET plastic a problem? ›

Because PET doesn't readily break down, it contributes to plastic pollution. Plastics like PET can break down into tiny pieces called microplastics, which are pervasive in our oceans – as well as our bays, lakes, and even drinking water.

How can you tell the difference between PP and PET? ›

The key difference between PP and PET is that PP is a saturated polymer, whereas PET is an unsaturated polymer. The term PP stands for polypropylene while PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate. These are polymer materials made of many monomers.

What are the 3 types of plastics that are made from polyethylene? ›

Collectively, Polyethylene is the most common plastics in the world, but it's classified into three types: High-Density, Low-Density and Linear Low-Density. High-Density Polyethylene is strong and resistant to moisture and chemicals, which makes it ideal for cartons, containers, pipes and other building materials.

What are the disadvantages of PET plastic? ›

Resins made from PET can oxidize, resulting in a degradation in the taste of food and beverages when the items have a long shelf life and are stored in PET packaging. PET is not a biodegradable plastic, which may be a disadvantage depending on the intended application.

Which is better PET or plastic? ›

Is PET more eco-friendly than other types of plastic? PET is the preferred for plastic bottles (and other uses) as it's 100% recyclable and highly sustainable. It can be recovered and recycled into new products again and again, reducing the amount of resources wasted.

Why is PET the best plastic? ›

PET is considered one of the best materials for plastic bottles because it is strong with little production cost and lightweight. Usually, the suitability of a storage or packaging material is decided based on how it compares with glass, metal, and wood which are considered friendly to the environment.

Why is PET plastic so popular? ›

Because it is resistant to micro-organisms and will not react to foods or biodegrade, and is 100% recyclable, PET is one of the most popular plastics to use. In fact, PET plastic is the most recycled plastic in the U.S and worldwide. The FDA and other world-wide health organizations recognize PET's safety.

Why is PP good for food packaging? ›

Polypropylene is an ideal food-safe plastic for production processes that require high heat. It can be found in products ranging from prescription bottles to garden tools and automotive products. While fairly stiff, polypropylene is not as brittle as other common food packaging plastics.

Which type of plastic should be avoided? ›

PVC. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is widely known as the most toxic plastic for health and the environment. In its production, it releases dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium and other toxic chemicals.

Which plastic is best for drinking water? ›

Identify types of plastic
  • PET or PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate): This plastic is commonly used in containers and bottles of water, soda and oil, among others. ...
  • HDPE (High Density Polyethylene): Bottles marked with this symbol are the safest, as they hardly release substances.
May 16, 2022

Which plastic numbers to avoid? ›

To make a long story short: plastic recycling numbers 2, 4 and 5 are the safest. Whereas plastic numbers 1, 3, 6 and 7 must be avoided. But it does not indicate that you can fearlessly use safer plastic. All plastic products can leach toxic chemicals when heated or damaged.

Is polyethylene safe for drinking water? ›

HDPE is widely approved by both standards organizations and code agencies for potable cold water applications. High-temperature HDPE formulations have been widely used in Europe for some time, but there are only a few materials ANSI/NSF certified for domestic hot water in the United States.

Is PP safe for drinking water? ›

Polypropylene (PP) is usually considered safe for humans. It is considered the safest of all plastics; it is a robust heat-resistant plastic. Because of its high heat tolerance, it is unlikely to leach even when exposed to warm or hot water. It is approved for use with food and beverage storage.

Can you use polypropylene with drinking water? ›

And unlike copper or other plastics, PP-R won't leach any trace chemicals into potable water, protecting the health and safety of both our piping systems and the people who use them.

Is polyethylene BPA free? ›

PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) is the plastic most commonly used in single-use plastic water bottles. It is BPA free, but PET is also associated with many of the same health risks such as stunted growth, reproduction issues, low energy levels, body balance issues, and inability to process stress.

Is all polyethylene food grade? ›

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Virgin LDPE resins are safe for food contact. While recycled LDPE/PP blends have been approved for food contact by the FDA on two occasions, materials made from 100% PCR LDPE resin are not cleared for food contact.

Is peanut butter in plastic jars toxic? ›

If yours is made of plastic, you and your family could be ingesting a host of toxins – here's what you need to know. The plastic in your peanut butter jar actually leaches into the product itself, often as a result of the heating and production processes. To put it simply, it means we're eating plastic.

Is PP cheaper than PET? ›

PP or Polypropylene Cups are the most popular type of plastic cups on the market today. The main advantage of using PP cups is that they are cheaper than PET cups.

How can you tell if something is polyethylene or polypropylene? ›

The polyolefins include numbers 2, 4 and 5 from above (High Density Polyethylene (2), Low Density Polyethylene (4) and Polypropylene (5)). So as a rule of thumb, if a piece of the plastic floats, it will be one of these, and otherwise, it will something else.

Is polyethylene the same as PET? ›

PET (also abbreviated PETE) is short for polyethylene terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester. PET is a clear, strong, and lightweight plastic that is widely used for packaging foods and beverages, especially convenience-sized soft drinks, juices and water.

Is PET the most commonly used plastic? ›

1) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)

This is one of the most commonly used plastics. It's lightweight, strong, typically transparent and is often used in food packaging and fabrics (polyester). Examples: Beverage bottles, Food bottles/jars (salad dressing, peanut butter, honey, etc.)

What does PP mean on a cup? ›

Choosing Plastic Materials

There are two plastic cup types: PP (Polypropylene) and PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate). The more cost-effective and commonly used option are PP plastic cups.

What are examples of polyethylene and polypropylene plastics? ›

Polypropylene is used to make bottles, hinges, packaging materials, parts for automobiles, clear bags, ropes, rugs, roofing membranes, geotextiles, erosion control mats and so much more. Polyethylene is vastly used in packaging (plastic bags, Plastic films.

What products are made from polyethylene and polypropylene? ›

Pallets, bottles, jars, yogurt containers, hot beverage cups, and food packaging are some of the products made with this material. Polypropylene is also frequently used in the automotive industry to produce batteries, bumpers, instrument panels, interior elements, and door trims.

Is polyethylene a food grade plastic? ›

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

While many plastics are only FDA compliant and food safe in their virgin (or unrecycled) state, recycled PET is an FDA approved plastic for food contact. It also repels microorganisms and doesn't corrode, making it an overall ideal material for food and beverage contact and storage.

What are the three different types of polyethylene? ›


Polyethylenes are classified mainly into three types, which include: low-density PE (LDPE) with density ranging between 0.910 and 0.940 g/cm3, linear low-density PE (LLDPE) with density ranging between 0.910 and 0.920 g/cm3, and high-density PE (HDPE) with density ranging between 0.941 and 0.967 g/cm3.

What is an alternative to PET plastic? ›

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and polyethylene furanoate (PEF) are two of those intriguing bioplastics. Each is made by completely different processes, but both can be biobased. PHA is biodegradable, while PEF can be recyclable.


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