PET vs. PETG vs. PP vs. PE – Navigating the Plastic Jungle for The Most Suitable Cosmetic Packaging Material

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For decades, plastics have been dominating the cosmetic packaging landscape. Yet, not all plastics are created equally or are meant to steal the show. To uncover the stars, meet PET, PETG, PP, and PE. Each of them brings its unique characteristics and quirks to the table.

In our ultimate plastic showdown, we’ll explore these stars and identify lightweight champions and eco-friendly warriors.

So, buckle up as we delve deeper into the PET vs. PETG vs. PP vs. PE comparison to find out which of them protects your precious formulas, keeps your customers happy, and aligns with your sustainability goals.

different plastic choices

Plastic Showdown: Deciphering The Codes

Beyond the acronyms PET, PETG, PP, and PE, these four champions have enriched the cosmetic packaging landscape with their different qualities. So, before diving deep into their individual strengths and weaknesses, let’s crack their codes:

PET: Polyethylene Terephthalate

PETG: Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol

PP: Polypropylene

PE: Polyethylene

PET: The Eco-Friendly Ally

If you are searching for eco-friendly plastics, PET makes the list.,boasts great advantages, such as:

  • Robust strength: PET containers have decent shatter resistance, which increases their durability.
  • crystal-clear transparency: This makes PET packaging ideal for showcasing your favorite serums and lotions in all their glory.
  • Lightweight and soft: This reduces your production and transportation costs and makes an ideal choice for travel-size cosmetic packaging. But PET containers come in big capacity jars too.
  • High recyclability: This is the real cherry on top for your eco-conscious customers.

Despite all these lucrative perks, PET comes with its quirks including:

  • Susceptibility to heat: It’s important to avoid storing your PET packaging where it is exposed to direct sunlight or heat.
  • Chemical leaching: Some studies suggest potential chemical leaching under extreme conditions, such as high temperatures or prolonged exposure to acidic or alkaline substances. However, this downside isn’t confirmed, as it is still under research and investigation.

PETG: The Durable Cousin

Are you embarking on the PET vs. PETG journey? Well, the battle for packaging supremacy goes beyond a single letter. While PET shines in eco-friendliness, it’s not always built for bumps and spills. This is where the PETG, modified variant, steps in.

Here’s what makes PETG a suitable option for your cosmetic packaging.

  • Increased strength: PETG is renowned for its enhanced impact resistance. So, it shows more tolerance to bumps, drops, and dings.
  • Transparency: Like its older cousin, PETG demonstrates clarity, matching the needs of your vibrant cosmetics, particularly highlighters, lip glosses, and serums. PETG’s resemblance to glass makes it a high-end material for cosmetic packaging. Thanks to its glass-like appearance PETG is currently a popular choice for cosmetic product bottles such as serums or lotions.
  • Improved chemical resistance: Compared to PET, PETG stands stronger against solvents, alkalis, and acids. However, this doesn’t mean PETG is immune to any and all chemicals. You should know that the resistance level is associated with the type and concentration of these chemicals.

But if you consider PETG as your primary cosmetic packaging option, you should get up close and personal with its limitations or drawbacks:

  • Limited recyclability: While PET boasts wide recyclability, PETG recycling options, and infrastructure are still developing and must be more widely available. If you are addressing eco-conscious consumers, PETG may signal a consideration for them.
  • Increased cost: As a modified version of PET, PETG may cost you more to purchase from suppliers or manufacturers. Additional components required for making PETG and the more complex manufacturing process contribute to the price gap.

PP: The Resilient Workhorse

As you keep exploring plastic varieties, PP emerges as a reliable workhorse. PP offers distinctive attributes that can convince you to employ it as a cosmetic packaging option, particularly in your closures, dispensing pumps, and inner liners.

  • Resilience and durability: PP provides your cosmetic containers with a great deal of durability. Therefore, your precious formulas can remain safe from accidental drops or travel mishaps.
  • Chemical resistance: PP has proven decent chemical resistance to some substances, especially non-oxidizing acids and organic solvents. So, in the PP vs. PET comparison, PP has an edge in terms of protection against some harsh chemicals.
  • Affordability: You can adopt PP to your cosmetic packaging options without breaking the bank. This explains its popularity among cosmetic brands, as it offers durability without compromising your budget.
  • Recyclability: Nowadays, PP can be recycled into PCR (post-consumer recycled) material. PCR is an environmentally friendly packaging option that reduces the use of fossil fuels and raw materials.Also, the main refillable packaging is made of PP.

Furthermore, there is also the possibility of enhancing PP’s environmental profile by incorporating biodegradable materials, such as straw, into PP-based jars or bottles. This enhances the strength and appearance of PP containers.

Despite all these positive attributes, PP comes with some cons that may make you reconsider it as your main packaging option.

  • Prone to brittleness: Avoid storing PP containers at low or freezing temperatures. Otherwise, it will show its brittle nature and eventually crack. So, despite its resilience and durability, PP packaging is vulnerable to improper storage and heavy impact.
  • Limited transparency: Unlike PET and PETG, PP isn’t transparent. So, if you plan to display the vibrant colors or playful textures of your cosmetics avoid using PP packaging.

recycle the plastic as much as possible

PE: The Adaptable Flyer

Now if you want to forget about rigid containers, it’s time to meet PE. You will appreciate the high adaptability that earned PE the flexible flyer reputation. Here’s why you can include PE containers in your cosmetic packaging materials:

  • Flexibility: PE containers are a go-to choice for tubes and squeezable bottles. But this is not a coincidence. During manufacturing, this material can twist and bend like an acrobat. This can give you multiple shapes for your packaging. Also, such flexibility allows for precise dispensing and comfortable use.
  • Lightweight: Imagine this: flexible dispensers for your lotions or shampoos that are also lightweight, a consumer’s favorite right? The lightweight advantage of PE extends to handy travel containers, allowing your customers to toss them in their bags without any extra weight. This same flexibility and softness make PE the popular choice for most cosmetic tubes, ensuring ease of use and dispensing.

Plus, 100% PE tubes offer an environmentally friendly bonus – they’re both recyclable and can be transformed into recycled PCR plastic, giving them a new life!

  • Affordability: Compared to its other plastic comrades, PE is considered affordable. You can benefit from this lower cost if you offer competitive pricing or cater to budget-conscious consumers. Furthermore, such affordability makes PE widely available and ready to be used in various cosmetic packing formats.
  • Recyclability: Some PE containers are indeed recyclable. Also, the current recycling scene shows positive progress underway. Recycled PE, also known as PCR, is already finding its way back into various applications, including cosmetic jars, cosmetic tubes, sachets, and pouches. This promises a growing potential for PE to become a more sustainable choice in the future.

However, it’s important to note that while progress is being made, the overall recycling journey for PE remains somewhat complex, with recycling infrastructure still under development. Furthermore, PE recycling requires proper sorting, cleaning, and processing of different types of PE.

While providing many lucrative benefits for different brands, PE isn’t immune to drawbacks:

  • Minimized chemical resistance: You can’t pretend that chemical resistance is one of PE’s best traits. On the contrary, PE exhibits low chemical resistance compared to materials like PP, and PETG. Generally, PE does well with mild substances like water-based, low concentrations of alcohol, and some mineral and vegetable oils.

However, if you use PE to contain strong acids, alkalis, and some essential oils, it becomes susceptible to degradation and interacts with your precious formulas.

  • Decreased Durability: PE won’t make the toughest jar on your shelves. In fact, the ongoing PET vs. PE debate gives PET an edge in terms of durability. So, compared to most of its contenders, PE is susceptible to wear and tear. So, handle it with tenderness and care, otherwise, bumps and drops will leave eternal marks on PE cosmetic containers.


Choosing the right cosmetic packaging material is crucial for your brand’s success. There is no right or wrong in this choice, as the ideal material depends on your specific needs and priorities. Armed with insights into PET, PETG, PP, and PE, you can now make an informed decision that aligns with your product, values, and sustainability goals.

Whether you prioritize sustainability, durability, affordability, or flexibility, you’ll find the plastic champion for your brand.

Now, go ahead and create stunning cosmetic packaging that reflects your brand and delights your customers!


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