Recycling can be confusing because of the various rules and symbols. And not only do towns and cities have different recycling programs, but they could also change. And anyone who Googles “is this recyclable” is probably also wondering what those little numbers mean in the center of recycling symbols.
It turns out that those numbers aren’t random. Recyclable plastics have the numbers one to seven as a code for the type of plastic resin. This information won’t change how or what you recycle—you should follow your local rules—but it is helpful for those who collect, sort and process recycling, per greenmatters.com. Although the code is often mistaken as a universal sign of recyclability, collectors don’t accept every plastic type or number.
By the way, these items should never go in the recycling bin.
Here’s what those numbers mean in the center of recycling symbols:
Now that you know all about recycling symbols, make sure to reduce, reuse and recycle. Then, read up about what really happens to plastic when it’s recycled.