PET, a chemically produced polymer made from crude oil (today increasingly also derived
from fresh plants), was first patented in the United States of America in 1941. In 1973 Nathaniel Wyeth, brother of the painter Andrew Wyeth, obtained a patent for the first PET water bottle.
With it society and life on planet Earth - after electricity, industrialism and mobilisation in the
19th Century and advances of science in the first half of the 20th century - changed once more. Next was the turn to chemistry based industrial agriculture in the early 1950s, nano-technology
in the 1980s, and then the Internet.
PET’s friction resistant, shatter proof, flexible, non-leaking properties, obtained in a relatively simple molding process without firing or chemical bonds, made and make it ideal for the production of inexpensive water bottles. It is not biodegradable, but it can be recycled. In other words, man-made PET plastics can not return to the cycle of life. So what else do with it, but use and reuse it.
PET is considered a safe and non pollutant man-made material. Who would have thought that in time it may become the hazard currently seen in land fills, oceans and along coast lines, simply by its numbers. What has happened? With the rise of toxic pollutants in soil, water and air the idea of shipping supposedly clean bottled water became attractive. Super market shelves are its proof of success. No glass bottles in sight there!