Recycling symbols explained

The following symbols appear on all sorts of packaging. They tell you what the packaging is made of and whether or not you can recycle it. The symbol will also tell you whether you can recycle it at home or if you need to take it to a recycling centre.

Not all packaging comes with a recycling label, so if you're not sure what to do with something, check our recycling locator.

widely recycled symbol

Widely recycled

This tells us that more than 75% of local councils collect this type of packaging for recycling
plastic- check local recycling

Check local recycling

This symbol shows that 20-75% of local councils collect this type of material for recycling
Not currently recycled symbol

Not currently recycled

This symbol shows that less than 20% of local councils currently collect this packaging for recycling
check locally for recycling

Widely recycled at recycling points - check locally for kerbside

This symbol means more that 75% of councils don't collect the packaging for recycling, but you can take it to recycling points in your local area
Recycle with carrier bags at larger stores

Plastic packaging

Some plastic packaging can now be recycled at supermarket carrier bag collection points. Look out for the 'Recycle with carrier bags at large stores - not at kerbside' message on your bread bag, breakfast cereal, toilet and kitchen roll wraps, multipack wrapping and newspaper and magazine wraps
empty paint container recycling symbol

Metal paint cans

Empty metal paint cans are accepted for recycling at most local council recycling centres. Check your council's website for more information.

Other recycling symbols

mobius loop

The Mobius Loop

This shows that an item can be recycled - not that it has been recycled or will be accepted for recycling. Sometimes this symbol is used with a percentage figure in the middle to explain that the packaging contains x% recycled material


This means do not litter. This doesn't relate to recycling, but is a reminder to be a good citizen!
green dot

The Green Dot

The Green Dot does not necessarily mean that the packaging is recyclable or has been recycled. It's a symbol used in many European countries and signifies that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging
Recycling plastics symbol


This shows the type of plastic used to make something. 'Chasing arrows' surround a number between 1 and 7 which represents the type of plastic resin used in the packaging


This means throw away your glass bottles and jars in a bottle bank (remember to separate colours) or use your glass household recycling collection if you have one
recycling aluminium

Recyclable aluminium

This means that the product is made out of recyclable aluminium
recyclable steel

Recyclable steel

This means the product is made of recyclable steel
Waste electrical items, from household appliances to mobile phones, can be recycled if you see this symbol


The 'seedling' is the registered trademark of European Bioplastics. Products that can be industrially compostable might show this logo


The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo identifies products which contain wood from well managed forest