More plastics info coming at you! Last time I wrote about resin codes, so today I wanted to talk about some of the other symbols we see on plastics. I think there’s a TON of misinformation out there about what these symbols mean.
Photo 1: the recycling Mobius loop
This looks a bit like a resin code, but it’s not! The resin codes are “flat” whereas the Mobius loop is meant to appear 3D, with the arrows folded over. This symbol can mean one of two things: either that the item is technically recyclable (which doesn’t mean much because most materials are technically recyclable somewhere, somehow) or that it is made from a percentage of recycled materials. It should have more details on the packaging, but often it does not.
Photo 2: the “Tidyman”
This symbol is a reminder not to litter. It doesn’t relate to recycling, although it’s often confused as a recycling symbol.
Photo 3: the Green Dot
This looks a bit like a recycling symbol but it’s not! It means that the company/producer has contributed financially to recovery/recycling somewhere in the world.
Photos 4 & 5: some examples of the Mobius loop symbol in action
It’s confusing, right? So much misinformation and greenwashing. It’s ultimately harmful, because non-recyclable materials put in the recycling system means contamination, meaning that less may get recycled in the end. Basically, none of these symbols, not even the Mobiles loop, guarantee that an item is recyclable.
As always, my top tip is this: reduce plastic packaging when possible, and look into your city’s recycling rules so you’re better equipped to dispose of the plastic that you do obtain.