RPET is the short name often used for recycled polyethylene tetraphyte (PET). It is the world’s fourth most common plastic resin, used in everything from food packaging, clothing and Stem backpacks. When you see the word ‘RPET’ it simply means that the PET in the product you’re looking at should come from a recycled, pre-existing source. Without getting too technical, every plastic you have ever used will have started its life from a specific polymer. For instance, the plastic in your PVC milk bottle will have been created using a different polymer than your PET water bottle.
In short, RPET takes plastic that has already been created, usually plastic bottles, and chops the bottles into tiny flakes. These flakes are then melted to separate the core PET ingredient inside of the bottle. This PET can then be used to make anything from a sweater, Stem backpack or even another plastic bottle. Not only is up to 50% less energy used than making PET from scratch, but by using existing bottles already created, it ensures these bottles don’t end up in landfill. It also means we can leave the planet as it is, rather than obtaining the core ingredient via the highly damaging process of crude oil primary extraction, we instead make use of a product in abundance that may otherwise have directly contributed to landfill, polluting our oceans, harming marine life and entering the food chain.