Recycling Symbols Guide

Ever gone to recycle an item and got confused by the various recycling symbols on it? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. A survey by Which? found that over half the population did not understand the symbols for recycling on product packaging.If we’re to increase our rate of recycling and tackle the abundance of environmental problems our planet faces, we must learn the meaning behind each UK recycling symbol. Find all the symbols and their meanings in this guide.

Mobius loop

The Mobius loop is perhaps the most recognised yet misunderstood recycling symbol. The symbol means that the item is recyclable, but that doesn’t mean it can be recycled in every area. Some areas lack the facilities to recycle certain items, so just because you see a Mobius loop, don’t assume you can recycle it — check on your local council’s website.
You might see a percentage in the Mobius loop. This refers to the percentage of the item that is made of recyclable materials.

Widely Recycled Symbol

You’ll find the ‘widely recycled’ symbol on items that are collected by over 75% or more of local authorities across the UK.
If you notice the word ‘rinse’ above the ‘widely recycled’ symbol, this is an indicator that you should rinse your packaging with water before recycling. This is to prevent food residue from contaminating other items in your recycling bin.

Tidyman Symbol

This symbol does not relate to recycling exclusively, but is simply a reminder not to litter. Instead, you should dispose of the item in the appropriate manner.

FSC symbol

FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, and their logo is used to certify that the wood in the product has come from a responsibly-managed forest.

Compostable Symbol

This symbol means that the packaging is suitable for home composting.

Waste Electrics Symbol

This symbol means that the item is electrical and should not be disposed of in your home waste or recycling bins. Electrical items should be recycled at certified electrical recycling points.


This symbol means that the item is made of glass and should be recycled appropriately. Jars and bottles should be recycled at a local glass bottle bank.

Recyclable Aluminium Symbol

This symbol indicates the item is made from recyclable aluminium.

Plastics Symbol

You may find a Mobius loop with a single digit inside on plastic items. There are seven different classifications of plastic polymer and the number refers to the polymer category.

What plastic can be recycled?

The seven plastic recycling symbols signify the seven classifications of plastic polymers. Not all types can be recycled, so it’s important to recognise which can, which can’t and which depend on the facilities available in your area.

1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

Items include:
Clear plastic bottles
Clear plastic jars


2 – HDPE (High density polyethylene)

Items include:
Milk jugs
Shampoo bottles
HDPE is SOMETIMES RECYCLED — Check with your local council.

3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Items include:
Plastic films
Children’s toys

4 – LDPE (Low-density polyethylene)

Items include:
Frozen food bags
Hand cream bottles
LDPE is SOMETIMES RECYCLED — Check with your local council.

5 – PP (Polypropylene)

Items include:
Plastic bags
PP is SOMETIMES RECYCLED — Check with your local council.

6 – PS (Polystyrene)

Items include:
Packing peanuts
Plastic cutlery

7 – Other

The 7th classification comprises all other plastics, including bioplastics and composite plastics.
Other plastics are NOT RECYCLABLE.

Another great way to recycle your items is to use a skip hire company that recycles all your waste at their own recycling centre. Camiers Skip Hire have been in the industry for over 45 years. We offer a range of waste management services for domestic and commercial clients, and endeavour to recycle as much of the waste as possible. If you have a home or business renovation project that requires waste disposal, and you want to do your part for the environment, get in touch with our team today. We serve customers in Aylesbury and the surrounding areas.