In 1973, a DuPont engineer named Nathaniel Wyeth patented the PET plastic bottle — an innovative and durable alternative to glass. Since then, production has skyrocketed to more than half a trillion bottles per year, driven by beverage companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé.
It’s no secret that most of these PET bottles, named for the polyethylene terephthalate plastic they’re made of, are never recycled. Many end up on beaches or in waterways, where they degrade into unsightly plastic shards and fragments that threaten marine life. But blighted beaches are only the tip of the iceberg. According to a new report from the nonprofit Defend Our Health, PET plastic bottles cause hazardous chemical pollution at every stage of their life cycle.
“Plastics have a terrible health burden on the population,” said Mike Belliveau, Defend Our Health’s executive director. He urged the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, to place more