Guide for plastic recycling symbols

We try to make sense of what they all mean



We all know that we should be recycling as much as possible. Most of us have got to grips with what our local councils will take away - and we've just about worked out which bin to put things in! But if you look deeper into the issue of recycling, it really becomes quite complicated. Especially when you try to understand all of those symbols!

There are logos for all kinds of recycling. So as we go on our journey to learn how to become even greener, we thought we would start a blog to keep track of what the logos all mean. Starting with the ones relating to plastic.

We are experts in energy - not necessarily recycling - so we want to make sure that our content is correct. Our main source of information has come from our friends over at RecycleNow who are experts in this!

Recycling Plastic

This label is applied to packaging that is collected by 75% or more of local authorities across the UK, for example plastic bottles.
Recycle | Rinse
Rinsing packaging, for example food trays, ensures that any food residue doesn’t contaminate other materials, particularly if they are collected together with paper.
Mobius Loop
This indicates that an object is capable of being recycled, not that the object has been recycled or will be accepted in all recycling collection systems. Sometimes this symbol is used with a percentage figure in the middle to explain that the packaging contains x% of recycled material.
Plastic resin codes
This identifies the type of plastic resin used to make the item by providing a 'Resin Identification Code'. It is represented with a 'chasing arrows' symbol surrounding a a number between 1 and 7 that defines the resin used.
The Green Dot
The Green Dot does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable, will be recycled or has been recycled. It is a symbol used on packaging in some European countries and signifies that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.
Products certified to be industrially compostable according to the European standard EN 13432/14955 may bear the 'seedling' logo.
Never place compostable plastic into the recycling with other plastics; as it is designed to break down it cannot be recycled and contaminates recyclable plastics. Plastics that carry this symbol can be recycled with your garden waste through your local authority.