Packaging symbols

Recycling symbols are often a source of confusion for consumers as many do not indicate how easy it is for an item to be recycled or if there are likely to be local collection facilities.

The UK on-pack recycling label scheme introduced in 2009 provides the best guide to what types of packaging can be recycled.

For each component part of the packaging there are colour-coded icons which show:

Recycling LabelsWidely Recycled – means 65% of people have access to recycling facilities for these items.

Check locally – means 15%-65% of people have access to recycling facilities for these items.

Not recycled – means less than 15% of people have access to recycling facilities for these items.

Identification code numbers used on plastic are not intended to show if it can be recycled and often cause confusion. As a result the chasing arrows used around the plastic codes are to be phased out and replaced by a triangle.

WRAP provides further information on recycling symbols.