Resin identification code
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2011)|
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Recycling codes. (Discuss) Proposed since June 2012.|
The SPI resin identification coding system is a set of symbols placed on plastics to identify the polymer type. It was developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988, and is used internationally. The primary purpose of the codes is to allow efficient separation of different polymer types for recycling. Separation must be efficient because the plastics must be recycled separately. Even one item of the wrong type of resin can ruin a mix.
The symbols used in the code consist of arrows that cycle clockwise to form a rounded triangle and enclosing a number, often with an acronym representing the plastic below the triangle. When the number is omitted, the symbol is known as the universal Recycling Symbol, indicating generic recyclable materials. In this case, other text and labels are used to indicate the material(s) used. Previously recycled resins are coded with an "R" prefix (for example, a PETE bottle made of recycled resin could be marked as RPETE using same numbering).
Contrary to misconceptions, the number does not indicate how hard the item is to recycle, nor how often the plastic was recycled. It is an arbitrarily assigned number that has no other meaning aside from identifying the specific plastic.
The Unicode character encoding standard includes the resin identification codes, between code points U+2673 and U+2679 inclusive in the Miscellaneous Symbols block. The generic material recycling symbol is encoded as code point U+267A.
|Recycling number||Image||Unicode||Alternate images||Symbol||Abbreviation||Polymer name||Uses|
|1||U+2673||♳||PETE or PET||Polyethylene terephthalate||Polyester fibers, thermoformed sheet, strapping, and soft drink bottles
(See also: Recycling of PET bottles)
|2||U+2674||♴||HDPE||High-density polyethylene||Bottles, grocery bags, milk jugs, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber|
|3||U+2675||♵||PVC or V||Polyvinyl chloride||Pipe, fencing, shower curtains, lawn chairs, non-food bottles and children's toys.|
|4||U+2676||♶||LDPE||Low-density polyethylene||Plastic bags, 6 pack rings, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various molded laboratory equipment|
|5||U+2677||♷||PP||Polypropylene||Auto parts, industrial fibers, food containers, and dishware|
|6||U+2678||♸||PS||Polystyrene||Desk accessories, cafeteria trays, plastic utensils, toys, video cassettes and cases, clamshell containers, packaging peanuts, and insulation board and other expanded polystyrene products (e.g., Styrofoam)|
|7||U+2679||♹||OTHER or O||Other plastics, such as acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid (a bioplastic), and multilayer combinations of different plastics||Bottles, plastic lumber applications, Headlight lenses, and safety shields/glasses.|
|9 or ABS||ABS||Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene||High-impact and chemical-resistant extruded or molded objects|
Availability of recycling facilities 
||The examples and perspective in this section deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Use of the recycling symbol in the coding of plastics has led to ongoing consumer confusion about which plastics are readily recyclable. In many communities throughout the United States, PETE and HDPE are the only plastics collected in municipal recycling programs (e.g. Mackinaw City, Michigan). Some regions, though, are expanding the range of plastics collected as markets become available. (Los Angeles, for example, recycles all clean plastics numbered 1 through 7.)
Possible new codes 
See also 
- "Plastic Packaging Resins". American Chemistry Council. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
- http://www.lacity.org/san/solid_resources/recycling/what_is_recyclable.htm "What is Recyclable" from the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation website.
- http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_898&sess=CUR&house=B&author=simitian Full text and version history of California State Senate Bill 898
- http://www.cawrecycles.org/issues/current_legislation/sb898_07 Bill summary from Californians Against Waste, an environmental group
- SB 898 Senate Bill - AMENDED
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Resin identification codes|
- Recycling Symbols for Plastics has symbols used in plastics recycling available in various formats for use in graphics and packaging.
- Your Recycling Quandaries Information from Co-op America about what really happens when plastic is "recycled".
- Resin Codes from the American Chemistry Council.