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recycling code arrows

Goodbye Recycling Code Arrows and Hello Triangles

Do you recognize this symbol?

It’s seen on everything from plastic bottles to recycle bins.  As far as the general public is concerned this symbol means recyclable.

recycling ric

Is there a difference between the Recycling symbol and the symbols with the numbers in them?

The symbols with numbers in them are actually Resin Identification Codes. Only two of them are commonly accepted by your local recycle center.

The first code is (1) PETE, polyethylene terephthalate is clear, tough and has good gas and moisture barrier properties, so it is often found on soft drink and water bottles, containers for salad dressing, vegetable oil and peanut butter.

The second most commonly accepted code is (2) HDPE, high-density polyethylene is generally translucent and in most cases does not allow light to penetrate and therefore its symbol is often found on milk containers, household cleaning products, shampoo bottles and motor oil bottles.

The other number symbols are recyclable as well, however they are not accepted by most curbside services or recycling kiosks, you may need to look up your local waste management company to find a place that accepts the other materials.

Since the symbols are so similar to the recycle symbol, the ASTM International Plastics committee plans to change the appearance it by replacing the arrows with a solid, equilateral triangle.  According to Plastic News, ASTM said in a news release replacing the arrows with a triangle, “helps bring focus back to the system’s core mission: resin identification and quality control prior to recycling.”

Here is what the new symbols are going to look like

It won’t be for a few months but once the new symbols are implemented, new molds will have to be made as well.  How do you feel about the new symbols?  Read more about the details on

recycle triangles


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