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Recycling Symbols Explained

Recycling Symbols Explained

Recycling is extremely important. In fact, unless we take serious action, it is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there is sea life. This shocking prediction must make us seriously consider our plastic use and do everything within our power to reduce our plastic waste.

Most modern products are fully recyclable. However, some plastic products cannot be and some need to be disposed of in a certain way. To help us understand how our products can be disposed of they often display a logo which indicates which parts are recyclable and how we should sort them.

This is all well and good, and a positive step towards more recycling, but what do the logos mean? Well, we’ve put together this handy little guide to help you better understand how your plastic waste can be recycled.

Mobius Loop

The Mobius Loop label is the iconic international recycling symbol that informs users that the packaging material is recyclable somewhere in the world.

Mobius Loop

Widely Recycled

A widely recycled label shows a white arrow on a green background, with the words “Widely Recycled” clearly displayed below. Products with this symbol on are collected by more than 70% of local authorities in the UK.

Widely recycled labels have sub-labels. These labels look the same but also include additional information.

Widely Recycled Symbol

Widely Recycled – Rinse

“RINSE” can appear on a range of items, including food trays. This label indicates that food residue should be rinsed away before recycling to ensure residue does not contaminate other materials.

Widely Recycled Rinse

Widely Recycled – Rinse, Lid On

“RINSE | LID ON” appears more on jars and indicates that the product should be rinsed and the lids replaced before recycling.

Widely Recycled Rinse - Lid on

Check Locally

The Check Locally label looks similar to the widely recycled label. However, the traditional green background behind the white arrow is black. This indicates that you should check with your local authority to see if the product can be recycled locally.

Check Locally

Not Yet Recycled

A not yet recycled label is, again, very similar to the Check Locally label. However, this one has a white line going through the arrow. This label indicates that the product can not yet be recycled.

Not Yet Recycled

The Green Dot

The Green Dot symbol can be confusing as it does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable. Instead, it is a symbol placed on packaging in a number of European countries and demonstrates that the producer of the product has made a financial contribution towards the recycling and recovery of packaging in Europe.

The Green Dot


This symbols is one of the most self-explanatory and requests that the product is disposed of at a local bottle bank.

Glass Recycling

Plastic Resin Codes

A plastic resin code, or “Resin Identification Code”, as seen on the right, identifies the type of plastic resin used to make products. The resin is usually defined between 1-7 and can be seen in the centre of the arrows.

Plastic Resin Code

Recyclable Aluminium

This label is a reminder than aluminium materials such as cans and containers are recyclable and should be disposed of correctly.

Recyclable Aluminium

Recyclable Steel

The Recyclable Steel label indicates that steel materials can be recycled.

Recyclable Steel

The ‘Seedling’

This label is a European-wide label that indicates that the material is bioplastic and can be composted by industrial processors.


Paper, Card and Wood

The FSC shown in the label represents Forest Stewardship Council. This means the product is wood-based and sourced from well-managed forests independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC.

Paper, Card and Wood Recycling

Remember, we are all responsible for planet earth and its inhabitants. Let’s make a stand and do everything in our power to preserve and protect it.

Global Office Supplies is on a mission to help companies go green. We can help you reduce your impact on the environment by supplying eco-friendly office supplies, print management and recycling services. What’s more, we can save you money in the process!

Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help your office go green: