What do the numbers & symbols on plastic mean?

Many of us have been tricked into using the triangular symbol with a number inside to identify what can be recycled. But, this symbol is NOT a recycling symbol. It is a plastics identification code used to tell manufacturers what type of plastic the item is made from.

 

WHAT PLASTICS CAN BE RECYCLED?

Any plastic container that is rigid can be recycled! A handy tip for deciding if the container is “rigid” is if it:

  • holds its shape when crumpled, and/or
  • would hold liquid.

 

Here’s a quick guide to containers with the plastic code that CAN be placed in your recycling bin:

 

Symbol Type of plastic Types of containers Accepted in your recycle bin?

Polyethylene Terephthalate

PET

Carbonated soft drink
bottles, detergent bottles.

High Density Polyethylene

HDPE

Milk and cream bottles,
shampoo bottles, cleaningproducts.

Polyvinyl Chloride

PVC

Clear cordial and juicebottles.

Low Density Polyethylene

LDPE

Squeeze bottles.

Polypropylene

PP

Ice cream containers and
lids, plastic take awaycontainers.

Polystyrene

PS

Yoghurt containersand margarine/ butter
containers.

 

 

NOW YOU CAN RECYCLE PLASTIC LIDS!

Lids must be removed from bottles and containers before placing in the recycling bin but leaving them loose in your recycling bin means they are often too small to be captured at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) where recyclables are sorted.

 

We used to tell you to put these in the waste bin BUT now you can simply collect plastic lids in a fabric softener or detergent bottle and once full place in your recycling bin with a lid on. Sorters at the MRF will easily be able to identify and sort your bottle with lids and recycle it with other mixed plastics.

 

 

Symbol Type of plastic Types of items Accepted in your recycle bin?

Polyvinyl Chloride

PVC

Wading pools 

Shower curtins 


Low Density Polyethylene

LDPE

Plastic bags in packaging

Soft plastics

Plastic shopping bags of all types

Irrigation and gardenhoses


Polystyrene

PS

Lightweight polystyrene meat trays

Drink cups

Foam packaging

 

 



 

 
Unsure about which bin a specific waste item should go?  Visit the Recycle Right Search Engine for information specific to your council or call 1300 137 118. You can also find tips on what to do with items that cannot be placed in your kerbside bins, such as oils, e-waste, light globes and household chemicals. Some of these services are free. Visit

https://www.greenindustries.sa.gov.au/hazwaste or call 1300 137 118.