Recycling codes

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Recycling codes are used to identify the material from which an item is made, to facilitate easier recycling or other reprocessing. Having a recycling code, the chasing arrows logo or a resin code on an item is not an automatic indicator that a material is recyclable but rather an explanation of what the item is. Such symbols have been defined for batteries, biomatter/organic material, glass, metals, paper, and plastics.[citation needed] Various countries have adopted different codes. For example, the Table below shows the polymer resin codes (plastic) for a country. In the United States there are fewer as ABS is grouped in with other in group 7. Other countries have a more granular recycling code system. For example, China's polymer identification system has seven different classifications of plastic, five different symbols for post-consumer paths, and 140 identification codes[1] The lack of codes in some countries has encouraged those who can fabricate their own plastic products, such as RepRap and other prosumer 3-D printer users, to adopt a voluntary recycling code based on the more comprehensive Chinese system.[2]


Symbol Code Description Examples
Plastics (see resin identification code[3]) [4]
Plastic-recyc-01.svg #1 PET(E) Polyethylene terephthalate Polyester fibers, soft drink bottles
Plastic-recyc-02.svg #2 PEHD or HDPE High-density polyethylene Plastic bottles, plastic bags, trash cans, imitation wood
Plastic-recyc-03.svg #3 PVC Polyvinyl chloride Window frames, bottles for chemicals, flooring, plumbing pipes
Plastic-recyc-04.svg #4 PELD or LDPE Low-density polyethylene Plastic bags, buckets, soap dispenser bottles, plastic tubes
Plastic-recyc-05.svg #5 PP Polypropylene Bumpers, car interior trim, industrial fibers, carry-out beverage cups
Plastic-recyc-06.svg #6 PS Polystyrene Toys, flower pots, video cassettes, ashtrays, trunks, beverage/food coolers, beer cups, wine and champagne cups, carry-out food containers, Styrofoam
Plastic-recyc-07.svg #7 O (OTHER) All other plastics Polycarbonate (PC), polyamide (PA), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylic plastics/polyacrylonitrile (PAN), bioplastics
Plastic-recyc-abs.svg #9 or #ABS[citation needed] Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Monitor/TV cases, coffee makers, cell phones, most computer plastic
Polyamide Resin Code.tiff PA[citation needed] Polyamide Nylon
Batteries (see also battery recycling)
#8 Lead[citation needed] Lead–acid battery Car batteries
#9 or #19 Alkaline Alkaline battery
#10 NiCD Nickel–cadmium battery
#11 NiMH Nickel–metal hydride battery
#12 Li Lithium battery
#13 SO(Z) Silver-oxide battery
#14 CZ Zinc–carbon battery
Recycling-Code-20.svg #20 C PAP (PCB) Cardboard
Recycling-Code-21.svg #21 PAP Other paper Mixed paper magazines, mail
Recycling-Code-22.svg #22 PAP Wax Paper (single sided) McDonald's: fast food sandwich wrappers, meat packing, gum wrappers, some drink boxes, BetaMax boxes.
#23 PBD (PPB) Paperboard Greeting cards, frozen food boxes, book covers
Recycling-Code-40.svg #40 FE Steel
41 ALU Recycling Code.svg
#41 ALU Aluminium
Biomatter/Organic material
Recycling-Code-50.svg #50 FOR Wood
Recycling-Code-51.svg #51 FOR Cork Bottle stoppers, place mats, construction material
Recycling-Code-60.svg #60 COT Cotton
Recycling-Code-61.svg #61 TEX Jute
#62-69 TEX Other Textiles
Recycling-Code-70.svg #70 GLS Mixed Glass Container/Multi-Part Container
Recycling-Code-71.svg #71 GLS Clear Glass
Recycling-Code-72.svg #72 GLS Green Glass
#73 GLS Dark Sort Glass
#74 GLS Light Sort Glass
#75 GLS Light Leaded Glass Televisions, high-end electronics display glass
#76 GLS Leaded Glass Older televisions, ash trays, older beverage holders
#77 GLS Copper Mixed / Copper Backed Glass Electronics, LCD display heads, clocks, watches
#78 GLS Silver Mixed / Silver Backed Glass Mirrors, formal table settings
#79 GLS Gold Mixed / Gold Backed Glass Computer glass, formal table settings
Composites (80—99)
#81 PapPet Paper + plastic Consumer packaging, pet food bags, cold store grocery bags, Icecream containers, cardboard cans, disposable plates
#82 Paper and fibreboard / Aluminium
#83 Paper and fibreboard / Tinplate
Recycling-Code-84.svg #84 C/PAP (or PapAl) Paper and cardboard / Plastic / Aluminium Liquid storage containers, juice boxes, cardboard cans, cigarette pack liners, gum wrappers, cartage shells for blanks, fireworks colouring material, Tetra Brik.
#85 Paper and fibreboard / plastic / aluminium / tinplate
#87 Card-stock Laminate Biodegradable plastic Laminating material, special occasion cards, bookmarks, business cards, flyers/advertising
#90 Plastics / Aluminium
#91 Plastic / Tinplate
#92 Plastic / Miscellaneous metals
#95 Glass / Plastic
#96 Glass / Aluminium
#97 Glass / Tinplate
#98 Glass / Miscellaneous metals

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) GB16288,2008. Marking of plastics products. Chinese Standard Publishing House, Beijing; 2008.
  2. ^ Emily J. Hunt, Chenlong Zhang, Nick Anzalone, Joshua M. Pearce, Polymer recycling codes for distributed manufacturing with 3-D printers, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 97, pp. 24-30 (2015). DOI:10.1016/j.resconrec.2015.02.004
  3. ^ Plastic Packaging Resins American Chemistry Council
  4. ^ Official Journal of the EC; Commission Decision (97/129/EC) establishing the ID system for packaging materials pursuant to European Parliament & Council Directive 94/62/EC

External links[edit]