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Can You Put Acetone In PET Plastic Bottles?

Updated on August 5, 2014

PET Plastic Symbol

PET plastic (also known as PETE and designated by a recyclable “1”)
PET plastic (also known as PETE and designated by a recyclable “1”)

What happens to PET Bottles when you fill them with acetone?

There are no two ways around it, well made PET bottles look great and they are an excellent choice for storing fizzy drinks, water based paints, peanut butter, some lotions, cordials, some body washes, and frozen food. However, they are not useful for storing anything oil based or corrosive.

If you use PET plastic to store acetone, eventually the bottles will lose their shape and expand. Left long enough, the acetone will eventually eat through the plastic and the contents will spill. There is even a chance that the bottles could explode. Acetone is manufactured and used as a solvent in pain thinners, cleaners and of course for nail varnish removers. It is classed as a hazardous product and extreme care must be taken when storing and transporting it. It is highly flammable and when decanting it special procedures must be followed. Acetone vapours can travel quickly and if there is any open flame or sparks it can cause an explosion. The vapours can also cause eye and breathing irritation.

HDPE Symbol

Acetone Should Be Stored In HDPE Bottles

Instead of the more glamorous PET bottles, you should choose the sturdier HDPE bottles to store your acetone in. This plastic is High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) and is used for strong chemicals and corrosives. It is made from petroleum and is also recyclable.

Although the plastic is not so elegant, you can brand it with your own pretty label. HDPE comes in any colour that you pick, there are many plastic companies experimenting with pigments at the moment. So if you have a chain of nail salons, or you would like to launch your own brand of nail polish remover, you can still create a beautiful product that stands out on the shelves.

Bottles are readily available on auction site and internet stores, but please be careful to choose the correct plastic for your product.


Bottle on the left with no product in it and bottle on the right with acetone in it.
Bottle on the left with no product in it and bottle on the right with acetone in it.

Acetone in PET Bottle Experiment

We (The Plastic Bottles Company) decided to test what would happen if we put acetone in a 30ml oval PET bottle. These bottles are favourites with the health and beauty industry because they look great and are slim enough to fit through the post box.

We get asked often about whether they can be used for acetone and we always advise people to use the cousin bottle, the 30ml HDPE oval.

But, we wanted to see for ourselves what would happen. So here is a photo of the PET bottle after one month of having acetone in it. You can see that it looks like it is about to explode!


Properties of HDPE & PET Plastic

Type of Plastic
Properties
Uses
HDPE
Hard, strong and durable. Semi-opaque or coloured. Semi-flexible.
Shampoos, paints, acetone, laundry detergents, food stuffs
PET
Lightweight, see-through, can be brittle, melts if left in warm places.
Water based substances, drinks, foods, alcohol.
 
 
 
Choose your bottle carefully
Care must be taken when posting acetone
Care must be taken when posting acetone | Source

Sending Acetone In The Post

When sending acetone in the post, you have to remember that acetone is classed as dangerous goods and therefore must be packaged correctly with 3 layers of packaging.

You need to have:

an inner package- the hdpe plastic bottle

a middle package- a cardboard box containing a number of plastic bottles of acetone (depending on the size of the bottles)

and outer packaging- a large box containing a number of boxes of bottles.

You must also have the correct labels with the correct symbols and the following warning:

Highly flammable. Irritating to eyes. Repeated exposure may cause skin dryness or
cracking. Vapours may cause drowsiness and dizziness.

Correct Packaging of Acetone

Source

Acetone Uses

What Do You Use Acetone For?

See results

Finding A Courier Who Will Deliver Acetone

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find a courier who is willing to transport acetone these days because the government has set down very stringent rules in the UK. It forces the price of a very inexpensive product sky high.

There are some couriers who are willing to transport so you have to do your homework to find the most convenient option for where you live.


The Plastic Bottles Company

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