Always Check the Label: Guide to Understanding Popular Recycling Symbols

The world of recycling is something we are accustomed to by now. We all know the drill; plastics, paper and metals all in one bin, never in general waste – well this is the hope. But, have you ever considered that not all plastics are recyclable?! Frustratingly, only 9% of plastic is actually recycled, that’s a massive 91% of all plastic dumped in landfill, the oceans amongst others [source: national geographic] But, if we became savvier with both our purchases as well as recycling correctly, a huge difference can be had.

Today, I want to talk more about the recycling labels that are found on the backs of our food items. There is a mass amount by now, with some often not as self-explanatory as others, therefore I hope to provide a handy guide for the next time you have an item to recycle

The above logo as pictured named the ‘Recycle Now‘ symbol is aimed to provide clear cut instructions of how exactly your item can be recycled

Frustratingly, only 9% of plastic is actually recycled. That’s a massive 91% of all plastic dumped in landfill, the oceans amongst others.

Taking my glass jar of mayonnaise as an example here. You can clearly see the jar itself can be recycled pretty easily, with the cap, made of aluminium. But, you must check first with your local council (or simply look at the instruction on your recycling bin). As some councils are particular in the types of materials they are able to recycle. 

The ‘Recycle Now’ logo also has other varieties which include the black label simply having ‘Not Currently Recycled’. Therefore unfortunately you must put it in the bin (or look for alternative recycling centres such as Terracycle). As well as ‘Recycle With Carrier Bags at Larger Stores’. Meaning, large supermarkets will often have specialised recycling bins for items with this label. 

The above glass jar has two symbols which are often confused for what they really mean. The left symbol is a reminder to dispose of the item appropriately.  With the right symbol, meaning the company have made efforts to make the packaging recyclable. But, may not be taken for recycling from some authorities.  

The above glass jar has two symbols which are often confused for what they really mean. The left symbol, of a person putting something in the bin, is a reminder to dispose of the item appropriately.  With the right symbol, a circle with two arrows intertwined meaning the company have made efforts to make the packaging recyclable (but may not be taken for recycling from some authorities).  

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