Recycling Symbols

Symbols now appear on packaging advising consumers and promoting environmental claims. With packaging often being produced for a worldwide market, there can be some confusion about what each symbol means.

Below is a guide of the commonly used recycling symbols that you might find on some of the everyday items you buy.

What determines whether a product can be recycled is the availability of secure, local, ethical and sustainable markets. Do not rely on symbols, logos, or the claims of retailers. Find out what can and cannot be recycled in your recycling bin here.

Contact details

Waste and Recycling

01256 844844


Recycle now The Recycle Now icon is designed to be the recognised symbol for recycling and to motivate people into action. The curved arrow represents the action and sustainability of recycling. The heart signifies the feel-good nature of the recycling activity.
Mobius loop The Mobius Loop has no precise meaning. It is generally understood to be the international symbol for recycling, but the use of the symbol is entirely voluntary.

Mobius loop A % indicates that a certain quantity of recycled material has been used in the production of the packaging. This is commonly found on cardboard.
Green dot The Green Dot is a symbol used in many European countries. It shows that the producer of the packaging has made a financial contribution towards its recovery and recycling, in the country of origin or sale. This symbol has no relevance in the UK, and does not indicate that the item can be recycled locally.


There are six different types of plastic polymer commonly used to make packaging. The symbol used to identify the type of polymer is a triangle with a number inside it and some letters underneath. Unfortunately the triangle does not mean that the packaging can be recycled.

Polyethylene terephthalate

High-density polyethylene

Polyvinyl  chloride   

Low-density polyethylene




This symbol means the packaging is made from aluminium.
This symbol means the packaging is made from steel.

Electrical and electronic equipment

The crossed-out wheelie bin can be found on items such as batteries, electrical and electronic items. . These can all be recycled at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre.


This is a very new symbol, which means that the packaging is suitable for home composting. You can buy cut price compost bins through the Recycle Now Home Composting offer.

Still confused?

If there is a symbol or logo you don't understand, please email us on