using plastic

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Uncle Jesse
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using plastic

Post by Uncle Jesse » Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:12 pm

don't do it. there's a reason not one plastic container is FDA or TTB approved for storage or shipment of distilled spirits.
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Post by Harry » Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:00 pm

don't do it. there's a reason not one plastic container is FDA or TTB approved for storage or shipment of distilled spirits.
The TTB approved PTFE liners & stand-alone containers 20 years ago.
85-7 Use of Polyethylene Containers for the Bottling and Packaging of Distilled Spirits and Denatured Spirits

This ATF ruling authorizes the use of polyethylene drums having a capacity of 10 gallons or less and which are to be packaged and shipped without being overpacked in any other type drum.

The Bureau recognizes that, in some minor instances, a proof gain of up to two degrees of proof per year (and a corresponding water volume loss) may occur when using polyethylene liquor bottles. However, this effect can be minimized by avoiding high storage temperatures, by insuring that the wall thickness of polyethylene containers is uniform, and by insuring market turnover. ATF has concluded that this characteristic poses no jeopardy to the revenue because the taxable commodity, the alcohol, does not travel through the container wall. The quantity of alcohol does not change between the time of bottling and the point of tax determination. Therefore, it has been determined that the use of polyethylene containers as liquor bottles provides adequate protection to the excise tax revenue.

It's common to see Jim Beam, Bundy Rum, Stolichnaya Vodka in bulk spirits in 20L PTFE containers here in Australia. Niteclubs are a good source of empties.

Because of their unique ability to 'breathe' (lose water, not alcohol as it's a bigger molecule) as per the TTB info above, I use 'em to age in bulk on oak chips/blocks. Haven't had any problems with them.

regards Harry

Uncle Jesse
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Post by Uncle Jesse » Mon Dec 18, 2006 10:59 am

ok, i didn't want to have to post this but it seems some people are stubborn or perhaps just don't believe me. so here is the 2006 info on plastic bottles from the TTB. read and decide for yourself how 'safe' your plastic is.

i do not have a vested interest in the glass container industry. i'm concerned about your health, plain and simple.

now, i'm not saying the FDA knows everything. after all, we allow sodium and potassium benzoate in soft drinks where the EU considers it unsafe because of the high benzene levels. but the fact is that by this info you can see that as far as the FDA and TTB are concerned, there is no safe plastic container at this time for storing alcoholic beverages.

trust me, i hope there is in the future, it'd be cheaper than buying non-recyclable glass as i'll have to do with the current laws.

emphasis is mine. stay safe.
TF Proc. 76-3

Section 1. Purpose.

This ATF Procedure sets forth the position of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) with regard to the possible use of plastic containers for bottling distilled spirits and provides procedural guidelines for affected industries.


.01 The concept of utilizing plastic for manufacturing liquor bottles is not new. Several years ago an experimental packaging and marketing program was authorized for distilled spirits plant proprietors who proposed to bottle distilled spirits in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic bottles. The experimental program was terminated, however, on May 11, 1973 (Industry Circular 73-10), as a result of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal that PVC resin not be used as a component of food packaging material where such material would come in contact with alcoholic foods. Since that time, there has been no authorization given to package distilled spirits in plastic containers of any kind.

.02 ATF is aware of a renewed interest on the part of the distilled spirits industry regarding the development and acceptability of a plastic liquor bottle. Over the past few years, plastics technology has progressed to the point that plastic barrier resins other than PVC may now be capable of meeting FDA requirements for alcoholic beverage packaging. It is conceivable, therefore, that rigid or semirigid containers manufactured with one or more of these plastic resins may ultimately be considered feasible by the industry for packaging distilled spirits products.


.01 No action will be taken by the Bureau with regard to industry applications for the use of plastic liquor bottles until the following conditions and considerations have been appropriately taken into account:

1. Bottle Specifications

(a) Bottles must be rigid or semirigid, i.e., having a molded shape or design which cannot be permanently altered by pressure without damage to the bottle.

(b) The plastic compound must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in containers for packaging alcoholic beverage products for human consumption. Written verification from FDA will be required to assure that the plastic formulation meets all applicable FDA requirements.

(c) Bottles must be manufactured only in approved sizes.

2. Laboratory Tests

The ATF laboratory will conduct tests of plastic bottles regarding their suitability for packaging distilled spirits. These tests will take into consideration proof gain or loss, volume reduction, and other parameters.

3. Environmental Assessments

Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, we are required to consider the environmental impacts of any major action taken by the Bureau. In addition to the Environmental Impact Statement which was issued regarding the proposed PVC liquor bottles, there will be a need for further studies into the environmental aspects of other plastics prior to our taking any action regarding their proposed use in the manufacture of liquor bottles. Environmental Impact Statements pertaining to liquor bottles proposed to be manufactured with other plastic formulations may have to be prepared and issued before a decision can be reached.


.01 Preliminary Testing Program

The Bureau has no objection to the experimental use of plastic liquor bottles for shelf testing, organoleptic research, or other applicable tests conducted under laboratory conditions. Such tests shall utilize samples withdrawn in accordance with 27 CFR Part 201 and may not involve distribution of distilled spirits packaged in plastic containers to consumers in any way. Test results may be provided to the Bureau to assist the ATF laboratory in its analysis of the plastic material.

.02 Application for Approval

Any authorized bottler or importer desirous of seeking permanent approval to package distilled spirits in plastic containers for distribution will be required to submit a formal letter application to the Director. Verification must be provided with this application that the plastic compound in question meets all applicable FDA requirements for alcoholic beverage packaging. Any extractive and toxicity data received in support of this verification will be subject to confirmation by the Food and Drug Administration. Applicants should also furnish any available environmental information regarding the plastic formulation to the Bureau as an aid in the preparation of any Environmental Assessments that may have to be prepared. This information may be submitted with, or at any time prior to, the formal application.

.03 Samples

Samples of plastic containers shall be made available to the Bureau before an application may be considered. Such samples may be submitted with the formal application or in conjunction with any preliminary testing program. The samples submitted should include at least six empty plastic bottles of each size to be used, two filled plastic bottles of each distilled spirits product and two filled glass bottles of each product for purposes of control and comparison.

.04 Final Action

We anticipate that satisfying the foregoing requirements will be a time-consuming task. Therefore, we feel that a final decision on any formal application could not be made in the near future.


Inquiries concerning this procedure should refer to its number and be addressed to the Assistant Director, Regulatory Enforcement, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20226.
If only the best birds sang, the woods would be silent.