Recycling Labels Explained [Visual]

According to a BBC poll, 47% of people report having arguments about what types of plastic can be recycled. The reason for the confusion? There are seven different types of plastic packaging and some are recycled more often than others. Also, due to funding and resources available, each local authority collects and processes recycling waste in different ways.

We’re all used to seeing the 3 arrows in a circular icon (♻️). This is called the mobius loop, and while you might think that this is an indication that the item can be popped in your recycling bin, you’d be wrong. It only means that it could be recycled, but whether that can happen depends on the services your council supply. It’s also worth noting that this symbol is unregulated throughout the industry, meaning that anyone can use it. Which begs the question, can you even trust it at all?

Below is a handy chart of recycling symbols that you can refer back to time and again. Checking the labels for these symbols should be the first step in recycling.

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