Understand Common Recycling Symbols

Read time: 3 minutes

Understand Common Recycling Symbols

Understand Common Recycling Symbols

Do you know what the different recycling symbols stand for? According to research, “Over half of adults don’t understand common recycling symbols”. This website’s statistics got us thinking about how we can try and educate our audience further. We share a lot about products that are recyclable in our range and ones that are made from recycled materials. Now it’s time to share the different symbols and their meanings. We have taken these facts from our partner’s Climate Wise’s website.

Understand common recycling symbols with this guide

Mobius Loop

The Mobius Loop is a triangle made up of three green arrows. This means that the item is capable of being recycled. In some cases, you may even see the mobius loop with a percentage sign in the middle. If you see the percentage, this signifies how much of the item has been made from recycled materials.



You have probably seen three arrows in a triangle with a number in the middle before. These are numbered from 1 to 7 as each plastic has a different ability to be recycled. The numbers in the middle of the triangle represent these categories and act as identification when processed by recycling teams. In general 1-2 are widely recycled, 3-4 need to be checked with your local authority and 5-7 are hard or not possible to recycle. Climate Wise recommend checking this with your local recycling authority for clarity.

Widely Recycled

Another common symbol that you may recognise is the widely recycled icon. This loop arrow with a green background represents that it is widely recycled. This is by at least 75% of local authorities across the UK.


Financial Contribution

If the manufacturer of a product has made a financial contribution to European recycling services, you will see this symbol. It does not mean that the product is recyclable.


Tidy Man

This symbol is part of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. It doesn’t have anything to do with recycling, but it acts as a reminder to not litter and properly dispose of your waste.



Check Locally

A white circular arrow with a black background means that the product is recycled by 20-75% of UK regions. It looks very similar to the widely recycled icon, apart from the colourways so it’s not to get confused. You will need to check with your local authority beforehand if you wish to recycle a product using this symbol.



“Alu” in a black circule means that the product has been made from recyclable aluminium. This symbol can be present on foil, just make sure there is nothing left on the foil before you scrunch  it up in a ball. Try and combine your foil together to make a bigger ball, the bigger the ball of foil, the easier it is to recycle.



Where you see a symbol that looks like a threaded-through leaf, this means that the item is compostable. These items should not be placed in your normal recycling bin, they can be placed in your garden waste.



We hope this news post has helped you to understand common recycling symbols better. If you would like to discuss recyclable merchandise, please click here to get in touch.