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Bernard Laboratories, Inc. Plastic Bottle Buying Guide

End user is responsible for testing their product. Bernard Labs is not responsible for product compatibility.

Plastic bottles are one of the most commonly used products across the world. Plastic bottles come in various designs, materials and shapes based on the material they hold and its storage.

Resins used in plastic bottles

Plastic bottles are made from various resins, such as:

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

PVC bottles are used to hold cooking oils at room temperature, vinegar, cosmetic products such as moisturizers, shampoos, and similar products. It is useful to store products in freezers as it allows expansion and contraction without cracking.

Typical properties of PVC are:

  • transparency
  • high resistance to oils
  • low oxygen transmission
  • poor resistance to high temperatures
  • chemical resistance
  • vulnerability to solvents
  • good impact resistance
  • blocks most gases
  • flexible
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Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE or polyester)

PET Plastic bottles are used to hold water, carbonated beverages, medicines, milk, and similar products.

Typical properties of PETE are:

  • essential oil and alcohol barrier
  • good chemical resistance (except ketones and acetones)
  • tensile strength
  • high impact resistance
  • low resistance to high temperatures (maximum 160°F)
  • blocks gases and moisture
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Polypropylene (PP)

PP plastic bottles are ideal for sterilization of surgical instruments. They can hold hot fill liquids such as coffee, tea, etc. They are made into jars and storage bottles.

Typical properties of Polypropylene are:

  • good resistance to high temperatures (up to 200°F)
  • excellent moisture barrier
  • high rigidity
  • autoclave properties
  • high chemical resistance
  • low impact resistance at cold temperatures
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K-Resin SBC

K-resin SBC plastic bottles are commonly used in attractive display and point of purchase packaging of products. They are not suitable for long term packaging of certain aqueous products. K-resin is a derivative of styrene.

Typical properties of K-Resin SBC are:

  • transparency
  • high gloss
  • high impact resistance
  • rigidity
  • susceptible to solvents (alcohols, ketones, esters, and ethers), fats and unsaturated oils
  • low barrier to moisture and oxygen
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High density polyethylene (HDPE)

HPDE plastic bottles are available in food grade (FDA compliant) quality. They are used widely to store food products (especially perishable), body products, medicinal supplements, tablets, household cleaning fluids, and similar products. HPDE is the most economical and commonly used resin in the manufacture of plastic bottles.

Typical properties of HDPE are:

  • good moisture barrier
  • good impact resistance
  • incompatible with solvents
  • resistant to acids, caustics and similar chemicals
  • translucent
  • non-glossy
  • flexible
  • tolerance to below freezing temperature
  • susceptible to high temperatures ( maximum 160°F)
  • unusable for vacuum sealing
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Fluorine Treated HDPE

HPDE plastic bottles are treated with fluorine gas to increase its barrier towards hydrocarbon and aromatic solvents.

They are ideal for storing insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides; photographic, electronic, and agricultural chemicals; household, medical and industrial cleaners and solvents; citrus products; cosmetics; flavoring agents; fuels; surfactants; construction, painting and paneling  polishes and products; graffiti cleaning products; and similar products.

Low density polyethylene (LDPE):
LPDE plastic bottles are ideal for squeezing applications, as they are quite flexible. They are used in dropper bottles, squeeze bottles for cosmetics and medicines, wash bottles, carboys, and similar products. The chemical composition of LDPE is similar to HPDE, but their properties differ somewhat.

Typical properties of LDPE are:

  • highly flexible
  • non-reactive with dilute and concentrated acids, alcohols, bases and esters
  • more translucent than HPDE
  • high resistance to ketones, aldehydes and vegetable oils
  • susceptible to halogenated hydrocarbons
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Polystyrene (PS)

Polystyrene plastic bottles are inexpensive and are more commonly used to store semi-dry materials such as tablets, spices, petroleum jellies, sterilized filtrates, and similar products.

Typical properties of Polystyrene are:

  • rigidity
  • low impact resistance
  • high clarity
  • low barrier to gases and moisture
  • good thermal insulation
  • low heat transfer
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Post Consumer Resin (PCR)

PCR plastic bottles are cheap and can be processed easily in various recycled content percentages. The 100% PCR bottles are used to store household cleaning liquids. Improved processing methods have produced 100% PCR bottles suitable for storing liquor. PCR is produced by recycling mostly milk and water HPDE containers and virgin resin.

Typical properties of PCR are:

  • stress resistant
  • odorless
  • slight yellow tint
  • reacts with food and pharmaceutical products
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Recycling plastic bottles

To help consumers recycle plastic bottles, the bottles are marked underneath with a triangular symbol of three "chasing" arrows around a number corresponding to the type of plastic.

The numbers are:

  1. PETE
  2. HPDE
  3. PVC or V
  4. LPDE
  1. PP
  2. PS
  3. Other

Plastic should be recycled to reduce its effect as a pollutant to the earth's environment. Consumers and distributors should be educated about recycling plastic bottles.

Bernard Laboratories cannot be responsible for product compatibility. This is the sole responsibility of the end user. Please do adequate testing before making your final decision.

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