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Recycling Symbols Explained

We see symbols every day that symbolise recycling, but have you ever wondered what they actually mean? The most widely recognised recycling symbol is the mobius loop, which is the triangle with arrows, but do you know if this means the item is made of recycled materials? Or does it mean that it's recyclable? Here's our guide to the most common recycling related logos and what they actually mean.

  • Mobius Loop Recycling Symbol

    Mobius Loop

    This is the most well known symbol associated with recycling. It is usually used to indicate that a product is recyclable (rather than being made of recycled material) although has no official usage rules.

  • Green Dot Recycling Symbol

    Green Dot Symbol

    Rather than meaning the product is recycled or recyclable, the Green Dot means that the manufacturer has made financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.

  • Compostable Recycling Symbol

    Compostable Logo

    Also known as the 'Seedling Logo' this means the item is certified to be industrially compostable according to the European standard EN 13432/14955. Compostable items should never be placed in the recycling - they are designed to break down and would contaminate recyclable plastics. They should instead be placed in with your garden waste.

  • Widely Recycled Symbol

    Widely Recycled Symbol

    This logo is applied to packaging that is 'widely recycled' meaning that at least 75% of local authorities will accept in their kerbside recycling service (such as envelopes & plastic bottles).

  • Check Locally Recycling Symbol

    Check Locally Symbol

    This logo is applied to packaging that 20-75% of local authorities will accept in their kerbside recycling service (such as some plastics).

  • Not Yet Recyclable Symbol

    Not Yet Recyclable Symbol

    The 'Not Yet Recyclable' logo means that less than 20% of local authorities accept this packaging in their kerbside recycling service (such as crisp wrappers).

  • Recycle With Plastic Bags

    Recycle With Bags Symbol

    Some types of plastic are not widely recycled kerbside, but can be recycled at supermarket carrier bag collection points (such as PE plastic films, shrink wrap, magazine wrap and our Gloss Padded Bubble Bags). Some local authorities do accept these plastics in their kerbside service, but if unsure take to your local supermarket carrier bag point.

  • PETE Plastic 1 Symbol

    PETE Plastic Resin Code 1 Symbol

    This logo represents the type of plastic resin used to make the item. 'Resin Identification Codes' are numbered 1 to 7 and define the type of resin used. Code 1 is PETE polyethylene terephthalate (e.g polyester fibres, soft drink bottles & carpet, furniture). Picked up through most curbside recycling programs.

  • HDPE Plastic 2 Symbol

    HDPE Plastic Type 2 Symbol

    This logo represents plastic resin type 2 - HDPE or PE-HD high-density polyethylene (such as milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, playground equipment etc). Picked up through most curbside recycling programs.

  • PVC Plastic 3 Symbol

    PVC Plastic Type 3 Symbol

    The plastic resin identification code 3 logo represents PVC or V polyvinyl chloride (e.g. trays for sweets and fruit, plastic packaging, flooring, lawn chairs, children's toys). Extensively recycled in Europe.

  • LPDE Plastic 4 Symbol

    LPDE Plastic Type 4 Symbol

    This logo represents plastic resin code 4 - LPDE or PE-LD low-density polyethylene, linear low-density polyethylene (examples include plastic bags, six pack rings, wash bottles). Although not often recycled through kerbside programs, often LPDE plastic can be recycled via supermarket carrier bag points.

  • PP Plastic 5 Symbol

    PP Plastic Type 5 Symbol

    This logo represents plastic resin code 5 - PP polypropylene, which is used for auto parts, food containers, dishware and industrial fibres. This type of plastic can be recycled through some kerbside programs.

  • PS Plastic 6 Symbol

    PS Plastic Type 6 Symbol

    This logo represents plastic resin type 6 - PS polystyrene (examples include coffee cup lids, video cassettes, insulation board, desk accessories). PS plastics can be recycled through some kerbside programs.

  • Other Plastic 7 Symbol

    Other Plastic Type 7 Symbol

    This logo symbolises plastic resin code 7 - OTHER or O, other plastics that do not fall into the grouping 1-6 such as acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate and polylactic acid (e.g. headlight lenses, safety shields/glasses).

  • Glass Recycling Symbol

    Recycle Glass Symbol

    This symbol is asking you to recycle the glass container.

  • Tidyman Symbol

    Tidyman Symbol

    The tidyman logo is from the Keep Britain Tidy campaign and asks you not to litter and dispose of rubbish in the most appropriate manner.

  • FSC Symbol

    FSC Logo

    The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo is applied to wood-based products (paper, card and wood) from forests that have been well managed and independently certified in accordance with FSC rules.

  • Aluminium Symbol

    Recyclable Aluminium Logo

    This symbol indicates that the item is made from recyclable aluminium.

For information on recycling envelopes, please click here


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