LET’S DISCUSS: Recycling Symbols

The Green Dot vs. The Mobius Loop

Did you know that only one of the two above ‘recycling symbols’ indicates whether or not an item is recyclable?

Can you guess which one?

The symbol on the left is known as the ‘Green Dot’ and is often considered a recycling symbol. However, it does not indicate that an object is recyclable, but rather shows that the manufacturer of the item has contributed towards the cost of recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe.

The ‘Mobius Loop’, on the other hand, is the most universally recognised recycling symbol in the UK. It indicates that a product is capable of being recycled, but it does

not tell you whether or not it will actually be recycled. This depends on each local authority. If the symbol reads “widely recycled” then 75% of local collection facilities will recycle the item; “check locally” means between 20% and 75% of local collection facilities will recycle the item; and “not currently recycled” means less than 20% of local collection facilities will recycle the item.


To find out where or how to recycle an item in the UK, click here.



Moreover, the Mobius Loop does not suggest that a product is made from recycled con tent unless it co ntains a percentage sign. For example, a loop with the number 75 inside would suggest that 75% of the item is made from recycled material.

Similar in appearance to the Mobius Loop, but not to be confused, are plastic resin codes. Plastic resin codes do not relate to the recyclability of a product, but rather denote the type of plastic resin and polymer used in manufacture. The resin identification number is used by recycling facilities to correctly process and sort materials, while the letters denote the plastic polymer in the product. For example, ‘PETE’ refers to Polyethylene Terephthalate, ‘PP’ to Polypropylene and ‘PS’ to Polystyrene, which all have different recycling properties.

Another symbol commonly found on packaging that does not relate to recycling is the Tidyman. This is used to encourage the consumer to dispose of the product responsibly after use, rather than litter.


To see the full list of official packaging symbols used in the UK click here.


Posted by Iona Chichester 18 November 2020

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