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Recycling symbols

Recycling symbols and labels appear on many packs but their meaning can be confusing. EcoFrenzy’s guide helps you understand this information and what you can do to help your environment by recycling.

If you’re not sure whether a product is recyclable, check your local recycling centre (click on ‘How to recycle at home’ and enter your postcode). If any recycling symbols are not listed here please supply the relevant information and we will include it.

Plastic

Hard Plastic

Referring to harder and heavier plastic packaging, such as trays, this logo tells you that this part of the packaging is only recycled by 20-70% of local council’s. ​Check with your local council before putting this material into your recycling bin.

Plastic Film

This logo appears all too frequently on packaging and generally refers to thin plastic film. This part of packaging is only being recycled by 20% of councils. You should still check with your local council whether this material is being recycled in your area, because it does not definitively mean it’s not recycled.

Carrier Bags

Some plastic films can be recycled at carrier bag collection points at major supermarkets.

Recyclable

Items include carrier bags, yogurt pots, margarine tubs, trays and punnets (without film lids).

Non-recyclable

Items include boxed cereal inners, clingfilm, crisp packets, bubblewrap, food and drink pouches, ready meal film lids.

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

Widely accepted for recycling through your bin or local recycling centre. Products include water bottles, soft and fizzy drink bottles, pots, tubs, oven ready trays and jam or honey jars.

HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

Widely accepted for recycling through your bin or local recycling centre. Products include kitchenware, toys, picnic ware, household and kitchenware and cable insulation.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Limited recyclability (check with your local recycling centre). Examples of this plastic include food trays, cling film, cosmetics bottles, footwear, credit cards and synthetic leather

LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)

Can be recycled (but check with your local recycling centre).Commonly used Squeezey bottles, six-pack rings, tubing, toys, carrier bags, heavy duty sacks, gas and water pipes.

PP (Polypropylene)

Can be recycled (but check with your local recycling centre).Examples of this plastic include margarine tubs, microwavable meal trays, moulded plastic car parts and industrial fibres.

PS (Polystyrene)

Sometimes accepted for recycling, but low demand for recycled Styrofoam.Examples include takeaway boxes, vending cups, toys and novelties, refrigerator trays, cosmetic packs, CD cases, plastic cutlery and cafeteria trays.

Other

Other kinds of plastic not defined by the previous groups.

Carboard

Cardboard Boxes

This logo indicates that over 75% of England’s councils have household recycling collection for that packaging type (check that you are not in the 25% of councils that don’t recycle this waste). The logo tells you which part of the packaging it refers to (BOX) and the material it consists of (CARDBOARD).

Cardboard Sleeves

This logo indicates that over 75% of England’s councils have household recycling collection for that packaging type (check that you are not in the 25% of councils that don’t recycle this waste). The logo tells you which part of the packaging it refers to (SLEEVE) and the material it consists of (CARD).

Glass

Recycle Glass through Household Waste Collection

75% or more of councils provide household recycling collection facilities for glass in their area. Metal lids (capsules) can be left on.

Recycle Glass through Bottle Banks

Please dispose of glass bottles and jars in a bottle bank (but remember to separate colours). Metal lids (capsules) can be left on.

Metal

Steel

Recyclable steel products include food tins, bottle tops, paint cans (empty and dried out), aerosols (without lids) and scrap metal.

Aluminium

This includes drink cans, food tins, biscuit/chocolate tins and lids, aerosols, kitchenware (cutlery, pots and pans), aluminium foil, foil trays and tubes (e.g. tomato puree). For other metal items, check your local recycling centre.

Aluminium

This includes drink cans, food tins, biscuit/chocolate tins and lids, aerosols, kitchenware (cutlery, pots and pans), aluminium foil, foil trays and tubes (e.g. tomato puree). For other metal items, check your local recycling centre.

Other symbols

The Green Dot

This symbol is very misleading, it does not mean that packaging is recycled or recyclable. ​It just shows that the producer has made a small financial contribution to the recovery and recycling of packaging.

Mobius Loop

Indicates that an object can be recycled – not that it has been recycled or will be recyclable everywhere. The symbol can be used with a % figure to explain that the packaging contains X% of recycled material.

Keep Britain Tidy

This logo means you should dispose of litter carefully and thoughtfully. Do not litter. This doesn’t relate to recycling, but is a reminder to be a good citizen, disposing of your refuse in the most appropriate manner.

Waste Electricals

Waste electrical items – from household appliances to mobile phones to IT equipment – can be recycled if you see this symbol. Do not put electrical items in your household collection bins.

Wood

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo identifies products which contain wood from well managed forests. Wood (furniture, toys, etc) can be taken by most recycling centres.