What do the different food packaging symbols mean?

With the entire country of Ireland now entered into level 3 in our lockdown levels, we take a look at recycling. With all restaurants, pubs and cafes only operating for takeaway we take a look at the ever increasing number of recycling symbols and what they mean on food packaging we use today.

Plastic Recycling

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There are 7 different plastic recycling symbols that can be seen above. The materials of each plastic have been divided into 7 different types to make it easier for people to understand what types of plastics are recyclable.

  • 1 PETE: Polyethylene Terephthalate is a general-purpose plastic. This would be plastic drink bottles, vegetable oil containers and mouthwash bottles. PETE bottles can be recycled into new containers, pallet straps and more.

 

  • 2 HDPE: High Density Polyethylene can be used in a variety of ways from pipes to bottles. It would be commonly used for plastic milk bottles, butter tubs and shampoo bottles. This plastic can be recycled into bottles and other containers.

 

  • 3 V (PVC): Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride) can be found in cling film, medical equipment and plastic wrapping on products such as bedsheets. This plastic material is rarely recycled; however a small percentage of it is recycled into panelling and mud flaps.

 

  • 4 LDPE: Low-Density Polyethylene is most commonly found in shopping bags, squeezable bottles and dry cleaning bags. LDPE is rarely recycled: however it can be recycled into bubble wrap and compost bins.

 

  •  5 PP: Polypropylene is commonly found in medicine bottles, straws and bottle caps. PP is rarely recycled but when it is it can be recycled into trays, bins and bicycle racks.

 

  • 6 PS: Polystyrene is most commonly referred to as Styrofoam. PS can be found in disposable cups, takeaway containers and egg cartons. This type of plastic can be difficult to recycle, but where it can be done it can be made into insulation and foam packaging.

 

  • 7 Other: Any plastic that does not fall into the other six types above comes under the category of other. This could be a combination of different plastics, such as DVDs and computers, and are almost never recycled. When these plastics are recycled they can be used for plastic lumber.

 

Mobius Loop

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A Mobius loop is one of the more recognisable recycling symbols. This symbol indicates that the product is able to be recycled. Sometimes this symbol will be by a percentage to show how much of the packaging is made from recycled materials.

 

Widely Recycled

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This symbol is most commonly found to direct people on what to do with this packaging. The OPRL Labels were designed for the UK so it may not always be correct in different countries as their recycling collection systems may vary. In Ireland we focus more so on what receptacle or bin that any packaging should be placed in.

 

Green Dot

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This symbol is often referred to as the Green Dot. This symbol can cause the most confusion as it means the producer of the packaging has been made using either recycled material or recyclable content. This symbol is more about showing the produce’s environmental contribution and contribution to recycling. In Ireland the scheme associated with this symbol is Repak.

 

Tidyman
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This symbol is not associated with recycling but is a reminder to dispose of the product in the appropriate way. All this symbol is for is to ask people to not litter.

 

Forest Certified

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This symbol means the material has been made using wood sourced from a responsibly-managed forest.

 

Aluminium
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This symbol means the product is made from recyclable aluminium and it suitable to be recycled.

 

Compostable
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For products to attain this symbol they must be certified and adhere to the European standard to be compostable. Compostable materials should not be placed in recycling bins as they are designed to breakdown and can contaminate recyclable plastic.


To shop our Food Packaging range go to the Hugh Jordan website now, or check out our latest brochure for all our food packaging products.

 

 

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