Recycling Symbols

Year Ten
The meanings of recycling symbols on plastics


Modern plastic products are often labelled with recycling symbols. These symbols are based on the types of polymers from which the objects are made.


Number One Plastics

This logo is placed on products made from polyethylene terephthalate. This is found mainly in food and drink bottles and can be recycled into fibre, carpet or panelling.


Number Two Plastics


This logo means High Density Polyethylene, which is found in cleaning product or toiletry bottles, as well as liners. They can be recycled into pens, drainage pipes, lumber or fencing.


Number Three Plastics


This refers to vinyl or polyvinyl chloride products, such as detergent bottles, food packaging and medical equipment. It is difficult to recycle due to toxic chlorine content, but can be made into mats, flooring, cables and decks.


Number Four Plastics


Low Density Polyethylene. These plastics can be found in frozen food, clothing, shopping bags and furniture. It can be recycled into floortiles, bin liners and shipping envelopes.

Number Five Plastics

Polypropylene is found in caps, straws and bottles. It can be recycled into cables, brushes, pallets, trays and lights.


Number Six Plastics


Polystyrene products include disposable crockery, CD cases, egg cartons and medicine bottles, which can be recycled into isolation, stationery and foam packaging.


Number Seven Plastics


This category includes various polymer products such as nylon, DVDs, and sunglasses. They are not commonly recycled, though they are sometimes turned to lumber or miscellaneous custom products.


Sources:; Recycle Plastic Limit


Originally written October 2012 by Robin Taylor. Scored at A