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How to read recycling logos and to know if an item is accepted for recycling by your waste processor


Every product you purchase these days seems to be plastered with different kinds of logos and symbols in an attempt to ensure you recognize it as environmentally friendly. Understanding different recycling logos can be confusing, so in this article we're going to walk you through what certain plastic, glass and aluminum recycling logo mean and how to know if they'll be accepted by your waste processor. If you're interested in understanding more about recycling or are looking to enquire about some recycling services you've come to the right place! Click here today to see how Panda Environmental can help.


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Plastic Recycling Logos


These are some of the most common forms of recycling logos that you'll find printed on most products that contain plastics. While they all have the same similar look about them, the number that you'll find in the middle along with the letters on the bottom are actually indicators of different types of plastic. At, you can find a great guide that helps to explain each of these plastic types and information on their usage. We'll provide you with a basic outline, but for more information you can check out their article here. Here's an outline of what each of the different numbers and letters means:


  • 1 (PETE/PET) Polyethylene Terephthalate: This is the plastic used to make soda bottles, plastic food containers etc. Very safe and picked up by most curbside recycling programs.
  • 2 (HDPE) High-Density Polyethylene: This plastic is often found in items such as milk cartons, shampoo bottles, juice bottles etc. Considered to be quite safe and most curbside recycling programs will pick it up for you.
  • 3 (V/PVC) Vinyl: This plastic is often used in items such as plumbing pipe, detergent bottles and even medical equipment. These plastics are not considered safe so make sure not use any items containing this type of plastic for cooking. It's not often collected in curbside recycling so contact a local waste collection company to see if they're able to collect it for you.
  • 4 (LDPE) Low-Density Polyethylene: Found in items such as squeeze bottles and shopping bags, this plastic is beginning to be accepted by most curbside pick-ups as it's considered a safe plastic to use.
  • 5 (PP) Polypropylene: Like low-density polyethylene, curbside pickup of this plastic is becoming much more common. It's found in items such as ketchup bottles or yogurt containers and is gaining a reputation as one of the safest plastics available.
  • 6 (PS) Polystyrene: Most people know this plastic by the name styrofoam. It's a useful plastic but is very difficult to recycle and is also quite bad for the environment. Most recycling programs don't take in polystyrene, however, sometimes it is recycled into items such as egg cartons or insulation.
  • 7 (Other): Any plastics that don't fit into any of the above groups are described as plastic #7. These plastics should generally be avoided due to the rise in health issues surrounding them.

Aluminum Recycling


There are actually 2 symbols that you'll find for aluminum recycling. One of the symbols is very similar to the plastic symbols so it can often be easy to misinterpret, especially if the item contains both plastics and aluminum. Aluminum recycling has actually become one of the more popular metals to recycle in recent years and, according to, in some places over 95% of aluminum is recycled. Contact your local waste management company to discuss you aluminum recycling options.


Glass Recycling


There are a few different logos that you can find for glass recyclables but this logo, which was developed by the Glass Packaging Institute, is becoming widely used to encourage people to recycle items such as glass jars or bottles. Often times you'll find that most glass products actually have no recycling logos at all, however, they're generally all recyclable, especially containers used for food or drink. If you're unsure whether or not a glass item can be recycled, contact your local waste management company.


Made from Recycled Material


There are several different logos used to let a customer know that the product they're purchasing is made from recycled material. Generally, most will use the straight forward reduce/reuse/recycle logo that everyone is accustomed to, however, sometimes people create their own way to inform the customer or just let them know through text. Purchasing items made of recycled material is always a great choice for both the economy and yourself as these products are generally considered safer to use.


What to do if you're unsure if an item is recyclable?


The safest thing to do is contact your local community recycling pick up to see if your item is able to be picked up curbside. If they tell you that they're unable to pick it up then your next step would be to contact a local waste management company such as Panda Environmental. They'll be able to help you determine the right course to having the item recycled and are often able to help you in the recycling process. You can also find a lot of information on what items will be accepted by your local landfill on your local town webpage.


Panda Environmental - Your Complete Waste Management Solutions


Panda Environmental has been a leader in responsible waste management and recycling solutions for over 15 years. We are able to service all waste needs, including recycling services. Click here for a list of all of the waste management and recycling solutions that we provide.


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