If you are confused by all the abbreviations on the bottom of takeaway food containers and plastic cups, then you are not alone. All consumers may want to understand the difference, but if you are considering doing business with these types of plastic containers, especially takeaway containers for food or beverages, this is certainly the case. Today, the two most popular plastics used in these containers are PET or polyethylene terephthalate and PP or polypropylene. Although both types of plastic are recyclable and are often used in the food industry, there are some important differences you may want to consider.
If you want more transparent plastic, then PET is a better choice than PP plastic cups. That’s why many people who operate food service companies prefer the transparency of PET to atomized PP plastic when drinking cups.
Another difference in the choice of plastics for takeout containers and plastic cups is the heat and cold resistance between the two plastics and the filling temperature. The filling temperature in PP containers (the temperature of food or beverages that can be held) is slightly higher than the filling temperature in PET containers. The filling temperature of PET containers is up to 71 degrees Celsius, while the filling temperature of PP containers is up to 80 degrees Celsius. PP containers have better heat resistance (external heat), while PET containers have better heat resistance (external heat) than PP containers.
In terms of impact resistance, PET plastic cups are slightly better than PP containers. This may not matter to your business, but it does show higher durability and greater crack resistance.
Because PET containers have better oxygen barrier properties than PP containers, they can retain the taste and aroma of food placed in them, but PP containers can better block moisture, alcohol or chemicals. Both PET and PP containers are very resistant to acids, grease and oils.
With so many high-quality products in both PET and PP plastic containers, it may be difficult to choose which type to use as a takeout container or plastic cup for the food service industry. Hopefully understanding the differences between the two plastic containers can help you make an informed decision.