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Learning the Recycling Symbols & The Resin Codes
Recycling Symbol Resin Codes

Learning the Recycling Symbols & The Resin Codes

Although many people are familiar with the different items that can be recycled, there is a common identification system that helps in identifying plastics. This is called a “Resin Code”, which ranges from 1-7. The number indicates the different types of plastic used to make the respective item. 

What are the Different Resin Codes? 

Resin Codes Recycling Symbols
Resin codes originated from the Society of the Plastics Industry back in 1988. However, they were only administered in 2008 through the ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System (RIC). From then, resin codes have been placed on almost every piece of plastic which will continue for the foreseeable future.
Some of these items can be recycled with relative ease, while others are extremely difficult to recycle. Plastic types #1 and #2 are extensively recycled in New Zealand and steps have been taken by the government and the manufacturers to try and use only these two for general purposes. We need to make it a habit to see what number is present on the recycling symbol even when buying items from supermarkets or shops.

What’s The Purpose of the Resin Code?

A plastic resin code, or ‘Resin Identification Code’, shows the consumer which type of plastic resin was used to make the chosen product, whether that be a plastic bottle, container or jug. The resin is usually defined between 1-7, and the relevant number will appear in the centre of the arrows on the label that is placed on the product.

What do the Resin Code Numbers Mean?

Within the UK, #1 and #2 can usually be recycled. However, resin code #3 is not typically collected from households and is in decline. With the introduction of the plastic bag tax, resin code #4 now means that plastic bags can be given back to supermarkets for reuse. Finally, resin code #5 and #6 are usually now recycled whereas resin #7 is usually not.

How Do I Know What Can Be Recycled in My Local Area? 

A detailed list of items that can and cannot be sent to recycling has been published by each individual local council. There are images present on recycling bins that precisely point out how a bottle or container needs to be in before it is thrown in the bin.
The earlier we inculcate this habit, the better it is for us. After all, don’t the future generations deserve a cleaner planet and an unpolluted ocean? Help spread the word and educate others on what the resin code symbols mean, and hopefully we can help the recycling system become a more efficient process for all who use it. 


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