Have you ever looked on the bottom of a plastic bottle or flipped over a box and seen a recycling symbol? Today, those symbols are fairly commonplace, but do you ever wonder what exactly they mean?
Sometimes it might seem like there’s a lot of decoding to do when looking at the recycling emblems, but when you get down to it they’re pretty easy to understand. Here’s a quick guide on what common recycling symbols mean.
This symbol with three arrows in a rounded triangle means that the item can be recycled. It represents “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” You’ll see this on items made of recyclable metal, paper, and plastic.
This is a variation of the traditional recycling symbol. The black background means that some of the items that created the product come from non-recycled materials. You’ll see in the middle of the circle is a number, which details the percentage of recycled materials used to create the product.
You’ve probably seen this symbol on a cardboard box, such as a cereal box. It represents that the box is made of 100 percent recycled materials. These items are able to be re-recycled, so be sure to recycle the box when you’re finished with it.
Plastic items have a wide variety of recycling symbols to differentiate what they are made of and if they are recyclable. A great resource,thedailygreen.com, helps to explain them. Here’s a quick guide to common plastic symbols that you may run across:
This symbol appears on plastic bottles and food containers. Nearly every recycling program accepts plastic marked with this symbol. What’s more, these plastics can be recycled into wearable items! Patagonia uses plastic bottles to make their Synchilla jackets.
The HDPE stands for high density polyethylene, and this symbol appears on common plastic household containers, like milk jugs and detergent bottles. Items marked with this symbol are typically accepted in recycling programs.
Plastic grocery bags, bread bags, and dry cleaning bags fall into this symbol’s category. While curbside recycling does not accept these items often, these bags can be turned in at grocery stores to be recycled. Utilize a reusable shopping bag next time you go to the store to help eliminate the number of these bags in circulation.
At Southwest Airlines, paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum are collected onboard our aircraft and are recycled through our co-mingled recycling program. Since 2008, Southwest has recycled the weight equal to nearly 233 Boeing 737-700 aircraft thanks to our Employees and Customers.
What recycling tips do you have? Let us know by commenting below. DING! You are now free to be green!