Part 2 - Understanding Symbols

We can only make better decisions when we have better awareness and understanding! Symbols often found on plastic packaging can be deceiving and lead us to believe that something is or will be recycled when that isn't always the case. Unfortunately recycling is not the great solution we all want it to be, reducing our plastic consumption & waste is.

Here is a little overview of the common recycling symbols (bear in mind these are found mostly in Europe/UK products). Stay tuned for the low down on ‘Alternative Plastics’ in a Part 3 of this series.


1. The Symbols

1. 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.

2. Mobius Loopthis

Means the item is capable of being recycled, but not that it has been recycled, or will be accepted in all recycling collection systems. Sometimes this is accompanied by a percentage figure that indicates it’s made from x% recycled material.

3. Plastic Resin Codes

This identifies the type of plastic used. The number in the middle (which ranges from one to seven) acts as a resin identification code alongside the plastic’s acronym (e.g. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate).

4. Widely Recycled

This icon means the item is collected by 75% or more of local authorities. Variations of the symbol include instructions such as rinsing the item first, or keeping the lid of the product on.

5. Not Yet Recyclable

The label is applied to products that are recycled by less than 20% of local authorities.

6. Check Locally

This symbol appears on packaging that is collected by 20%–75% of local authorities.

7. Forest Stewardship Council

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo shows that wood and other forest-based items are sourced from well-managed forests and/or recycled and controlled sources and comply with the rules of the FSC.