Can plastic bottles be reused in the way glass bottles were in the past?

Wouldn't it be nice if we could leave our empty plastic bottles out for the milkman?

5th June 2018
Can plastic bottles be reused in the way glass bottles were in the past? © Getty

Asked by: Geoff Dunwell, Maidenhead

Existing plastic bottles are designed for single use and aren’t sturdy enough to withstand the wear and tear associated with collection, cleaning, refilling and reuse on a commercial scale. Reusable bottles need to be sterilised, which involves washing with very hot water and possibly chemical solutions to kill any bacteria.

But while glass is resistant to high temperatures and to many corrosive chemicals, most plastics are liable to melt, deform or sustain damage from these cleaning methods. Nonetheless, it might be possible to produce a reusable plastic bottle, but to the best of our knowledge no company has done this yet.

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