recycling symbols explained

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General recycling symbols

You’re sure to recognize some of these common recycling symbols, but do you know the meaning of them all?

Mobius Loop – This item can be recycled where correct facilities exist.

Mobius loop (with percentage) – This item contains x% of recycled material and can be recycled where correct facilities exist.

Green dot – In participating countries this means the manufacturer is funding a recycling program for products with this label.

  WEEE directive – Shows that a product can be recycled separately from other household waste under the WEEE directive.

Tidy man – Do not litter. A familiar addition to the packaging of many everyday items, this symbol simply suggests that the bearer should dispose of this carefully and thoughtfully.

Aluminium – This product (usually a drinks can) is made from recyclable aluminum.

Glass – Please put this recyclable glass container in a bottle bank.

Plastic recycling symbols

These symbols identify the type of plastic used in a packaging. Some councils only collect certain types for recycling – use the table below to identify which is which.

1 – PET or PETE (Polyethylene Terephalate Ethylene)
Light weight, low-priced, and easy to fabricate, Polyethylene Terephalate Ethylene is the most prevalent plastic material in use today. PET is primarily used in beverage bottles, food receptacles, and peanut butter containers. It can be remade into polar fleece, fiber, carpet, etc. The requirement for this plastic among recyclers is relatively strong, but at present, the recycling rate for this material has remained low at 20%. It is the most widely recycled plastic.

2 – HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
High Density Polyethylene is more durable and more impervious to chemical degeneration, this material poses a relatively low chance of spreading chemicals when used as container for food and drinks. It is largely used as containers for everyday household chemicals (shampoos, degreasers, etc.), juice bottles, milk jugs, etc. This can be reused into floor tile, drainage, new HDPE bottles, pipes, etc. HDPE is slightly waxy and semi-rigid. It does not crack. It floats in water.

3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
PVC has been tagged as a health hazard – it has been noted to typically drain chemicals when used as containers. PVC is mainly used for piping, window cleaner bottles, siding, etc. It has chlorine and will dispense toxins if burned. PVC should not be used in food preparation or food packaging. It can be reprocessed into mudflaps, panels, mats, etc. PVC is smooth, scratches easily and sinks in water.

4 – LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)
LDPE is the material present in plastic bags, clothing, furniture, etc. Resilient and flexible, it is perfect for packaging, insulation, and sealing. LDPE, through many curbside recycling programs, can be reconstituted into cans, compost bins, and landscaping tiles. Recycled LDPE is often used to make grocery bags.

5 – PP (Polypropylene)
Polypropylene is usually is found in drinking straws, battery cases, some dairy tubs, bottles labels and caps, rope. etc. PP can be reprocessed into rakes, brooms, trays, etc. PP stretches into filaments and emits a chemical smell when burned.

6 – PS (Polystyrene)
PS is the top component for insulation and is used in foam products like expanded polystyrene (EPS), commonly known as Styrofoam. It is found in carry-out food containers, meat trays, CD cases. PS contains benzene, a cancer-causing substance and should not be burned. It is reprocessed into insulation, packaging, plant beds, etc. PS sinks in water; EPS floats.

7 – OTHER (Polycarbonate)
OTHER signifies materials not belonging to any of the other 6 resin categories. OTHER may also signify a hybrid resin made up of a mishmash of those materials. It is mainly found in children feeding bottles, flak jackets, business signages, five-gallon water jugs, microwave packages, snack bags and industrial plastics etc .It can be recycled into plastic planks and other tailor-made objects. Not all number 7 plastics are polycarbonate, a handful are even plant-based. Polycarbonate has become the axis of dispute in recent years, as it is discovered to leach BPA (bisphenol A), a hormonal disruptor that may disastrously influence gestation and fetal growth.

Plastic recycling symbols are designed essentially to help the staff in recycling plants in properly segregating materials for processing. A rudimentary knowledge of these icons can also help us in ascertaining if the plastic item were handling at home are risk-free for us and our children.


Comments on: "recycling symbols explained" (1)

  1. intradevar am recunoscut aceste simboluri si, evident, nu stiam ce inseamna fiecare, dar nici nu am facut ceva in privinta asta. noroc ca ai venit sa ni le pui in fata ca altfel… si unele chestii sunt chiar bine de stiut.