Intelligent Living
18 Most Commonly Used Recycling Symbols And Their Meanings
Education Sustainability

The UK’s 18 Most Commonly Used Recycling Symbols And Their Meanings

Packages we use every day include recycling symbols on their labels. Most of the time, we disregard those symbols because we don’t understand what they mean or think they say “recyclable,” but it’s more specific than that. Understanding these symbols are more important than one would think, as they help the recycling process run smoothly and accordingly.

On-pack recycling labels can be found on a significant number of packaging in the UK. These recycle symbol pictures are used on cans of beverages, milk cartons, plastic toiletries, and more. Listed below are eighteen of the most commonly used recycling symbols on the packaging and what each one means

Widely Recycled

Widely Recycled
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol means around 80% of local authorities in the UK collect this packaging material. These symbols are usually found on plastic bottles.

Widely Recycled – Rinse

Widely Recycled – Rinse
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol also means a large number of authorities collect the item. However, the “rinse” means the container should be rinsed out before collection because it helps the collector, when sorting out the items, not to ruin other things collected. This symbol is commonly found on food containers.

Widely Recycled – Rinse / Lid On

Widely Recycled – Rinse / Lid On
(Credit: OPRL)

Recycling companies need us to rinse out and leave the lid on if it has this symbol on the item, even if we’re sorting glass jars with metal lids. The glass and metal will be separated from each other during the recycling process, and then they will be sent to different units for the next phase of recycling.

Widely Recycled – Flatten / Cap On

Widely Recycled – Flatten / Cap On
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol is regularly found on plastic bottles and juice or milk cartons. Flatten/Cap On means to first flatten the carton or bottle to release all the air out then put the cap on so that the item remains compressed. This flattened item makes it easier for the recycling companies to take the items to the recycling unit.

Bottle – Widely Recycled / Sleeve – Not Yet Recycled

Bottle - Widely Recycled / Sleeve – Not Yet Recycled
(Credit: OPRL)

This means a large number of authorities collect the bottle, but not the sleeve. Since the sleeve is not recyclable, the symbol asks you to remove the sleeve. The sleeve is the paper or plastic sheet around the item, commonly found in ice cream cups, coffee cups, and yogurt pots.

Widely Recycled At Recycling Centers

Widely Recycled At Recycling Centers
(Credit: OPRL)

These items can only be recycled at specific recycling centers. Paint cans usually have this symbol on them.

Widely Recycled At Recycling Points: Check Locally for Kerbside

Widely Recycled At Recycling Points: Check Locally for Kerbside
(Credit: OPRL)

This means the item can not only be recycled widely but even local authorities collect them. So, if an item has this symbol, you should first check your local collectors.

Recycle with Bags at Larger Stores: Check Locally for Kerbside

Recycle with Bags at Larger Stores: Check Locally for Kerbside symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

Some supermarkets collect paper, plastic films, and newspapers. So, pay attention the next time you buy cereal because it can be recycled with carrier bags at the store you purchased it from.

Check Locally

Check Locally symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol means to check your local authorities because at least 20% of them collect the item.

Not Yet Recycled

Not Yet Recycled But Check Locally symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

When less than 20% of the local authorities collect an item, this symbol will be on it.

Mobius Loop

Mobius Loop symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol is the most common among all the recycling images. It means the item is recyclable, yet it doesn’t mean recycling companies will accept it.

The Green Dot

The Green Dot symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol is more prevalent in European countries. It looks like a recycling symbol, but it’s not. This symbol means those who produced the packaging have financially contributed to the recycling of the packaging.

Plastic Resin Codes

Plastic Resin Codes symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol is called the Resin Identification Code. It contains numbers from 1 to 7, which indicates the type of resin used in the center of three chasing arrows. This symbol also specifies the type of plastic from which the product is made out of.

Glass Recycling

Glass Recycling symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This symbol shows a man throwing a bottle in a bin. As the picture speaks for itself, the symbol means we should recycle glass bottles.

Aluminium Recycling

Aluminium Recycling symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

Any aluminium item with this symbol on it means it can be recycled.

Tidyman

Tidyman symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This is more of an ethics symbol rather than a recycling symbol. Sometimes there are signs around towns with this image; it’s not only on packages. It is a reminder- not to litter.

Steel Recycling

Steel Recycling symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This means the item is made of steel, which can be recycled.

Waste Electricals

Waste IT Equipment symbol
(Credit: OPRL)

This means that no e-waste (electronic waste) should be thrown out with regular trash. Check for local disposal companies, because some of them even collect e-waste from your home.

Now that you know all of your recycling symbols, you can help make the environment a better place by recycling correctly.

Related Articles

World’s First Home Hydrogen Battery Stores 3x More Than Tesla Powerwall

Andrea D. Steffen

The NHS Commits To Delivering A Net-Zero National Health Service By 2040

Andrea D. Steffen

Dry Pulping Technology Could Reduce Paper And Water Waste

Luana Steffen