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Recycling symbols for packaging explained

One of the biggest barriers to improving recycling rates in the UK is an understanding of the often-complex systems, schemes and signage involved. Most people are keen to make a difference by recycling their household and daily waste – but the actual methods of doing so can be confusing and misleading.

Here are some of the most commonly used symbols on products you’ll see in shops and in the supermarkets to help point you in the right direction.

Widely recycled

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This green symbol with a clockwise arrow means that the item you are looking at is easily and widely recycled. This means you can be confident that your purchase will go on to be reused after it’s served its purpose for you.

There are several variations of this symbol – some may have extra instructions and caveats attached such as ‘rinse’, ‘rinse/lid on’ or ‘flatten’. Be careful to follow these instructions as often forgetting to remove a cap or wash out a jar for instance can lead to the item being rejected from the recycling process.

Check locally


This symbol featuring the same clockwise arrow but with a black background means that between 25-75% of local authorities will collect and recycle this form of packaging but that there may be a chance they don’t – so you should check on your local authority website for clarification before putting it in your recycling bin.

Not Yet Recycled

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The Not Yet Recycled symbol is a sign that (as the name suggests) this particular item can not yet be recycled. This might include a form of packaging like crisp packets. However, just because the item is not recyclable doesn’t mean that you can’t reuse it yourself. So, try and think of a creative or useful way that you can avoid sending the item to landfill.

Other variations

Other variations of the symbol include ‘Widely Recycled at Recycling Centres’ informing you to take the item to your local recycling centre, ‘Recycle With Bags At Larger Stores’ which means some supermarkets will take in the item (wrapping from toilet rolls, magazine wraps, etc) and often some items won’t yet feature any recycle information. In those circumstances you should seek clarification either with the product manufacturer or your local authority for details on what to do.

Here at LSPS, recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state-of-the-art equipment.

To find out how about we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807 or visit our website for further information.

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