Do you know your recycling symbols? - Shop NO Plastic


Packaging labels and recycling symbols help us to identify how different types of packaging can be recycled. They will tell you whether the packaging is likely to be collected for recycling or if you can take it to your local recycling centre.

Recycling differs between local authorities, so if in doubt enter your postcode into the Recycling Locator to find out what you can put in your recycling bin at home, where your nearest recycling locations are and how to recycle specific items such as mobile phones and textiles.


Mobius Loop - This is the international symbol for a recyclable product. It is used as a prompt to highlight that the product is recyclable and the consumer should recycle it where possible. 


1 = PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate is widely recycled. Water bottles are usually made from PET.
2 = HDPE - High-Density Polyethylene is widely recycled. Examples include shampoo, detergents and bleach containers.

3 = PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride is capable of being recycled but harder to do so, definitely worth checking with your local authority. PVC is most often seen in piping, fencing, shower curtains and non-food bottles.
4 = LDPE - Low-Density Polyethylene is capable of being recycled but worth checking first with your local authority.  Examples include plastic bags, tubing and various containers


5 = PP - Polypropylene - hard or not possible to recycle, so try to reuse or avoid it. PP is used in Tupperware, disposable cups, and some food containers.
6 = PS - Polystyrene or Styrofoam - hard or not possible to recycle, so try to reuse or avoid it. PS is used in desk accessories, food trays, utensils, toys and insulation boards
7 = Other - This is usually a mix of different plastics and is difficult to recycle


This label is applied to packaging that is collected by 75% or more of local authorities across the UK. For example, plastic bottles.


A white circular arrow on a black background means that it is recycled by 20%-75% of UK local authorities, so the best to check before recycling.


Two interlocking green arrows mean that the manufacturers have made a financial contribution to recycling services in Europe. It doesn't mean the product itself is recyclable.


Recyclable aluminium - This symbol indicates that the item is made from recyclable aluminium. Examples include 

  • Drinks cans
  • Screw top lids from wine bottles (recycle with the bottle - the cap can be left on)
  • Takeaway containers and barbeque trays.

Do the scrunch test to check whether your shiny wrapper is aluminium foil or plastic film: scrunch the wrapper in your hand - if it springs back open it’s not recyclable foil.


The threaded-through leaf means that an item is compostable. It's important not to put these items in your normal recycling - they actually cannot be recycled. Pop them in with your garden waste (if you don't have a garden waste bin, your council will provide one).


This symbol from Keep Britain Tidy asks you not to litter. It doesn't relate to recycling but is a reminder to be a good citizen, disposing of the item in the most appropriate manner.