A Quick Guide To The Different Symbols You Can Find On Your Indoor Recycling Bins

Are you confused about which trash bin to use for different types of trash? You need not worry as most commercial bins have labels on them. But, often there are symbols on the products for waste management. You might not be familiar with these figures. But, this should not prevent you from recycling your household waste. Here is a quick guide on the symbols found on indoor recycling bins.               

What Do The Different Recycling Symbols Mean?


You can find recycling symbols on the labels on packages. The symbols inform you of how to dispose of the package after use. But, you may not always know the symbols. Thus, you can end up putting the item in the wrong bin. So, if you want to avoid recyclable items from ending up in landfills, this guide will help you. 

The Mobius Loop  

This is the main recycling symbol. Gary Anderson created this symbol as part of an event to encourage greener earth. It is accepted globally for the recycling process. This symbol on a product shows that the object is recyclable.

But, the presence of this symbol alone does not mean that the collection truck will accept the item. The symbol is to show its recycling capability. You need to know the local collection center rules on the acceptable items.

While using bins for recycling, make sure the container is sturdy. Labeling is a must for avoiding confusion. Galvanized metal trash can models are best suited for recycling. These are sturdy and do not need much maintenance.

Recyclable Glass

This symbol shows that the glass container can be recycled. Be sure to verify if you need to separate the containers based on their color.

When you recycle glass items, the recycled glass provides several benefits. It can reduce air pollution and water pollution. Producing the glass from scratch causes more pollution. Although it is common to see plastic bins recycling containers as made of metal. When labeled, the bins are easy to use.

Recyclable Aluminum

Packaging made of recyclable aluminum will show the above symbol. The benefit of recycling aluminum is it can save plenty of energy.

You can save about 95% of the energy you need to make the metal from its raw material. You can recycle aluminum items such as wine bottle top lids and drink cans. Some commercial spaces have special recycling bins for bottles and cans. The Ex-Cell Kaiser Black Tie Kaleidoscope model is one such product.

Foil Recycling Tips

  • Wipe off or rinse the food residue in foil trays.
  •  To make it easy to recycle, scrunch the foil, tub, and wrappers so they form a ball.

Green Dot

This symbol is not a recycling symbol as such. It shows that the manufacturer has taken care of the packaging’s end recovery. The green dot shows the producer’s efforts towards recycling.

Paper, Cardboard, and Wood

This symbol is for wood-based items. Most household recycling bins do not allow timber and wood. But, many recycling centers for household items accept them.

Compostable Items

The seedling symbol means industrial supported compostable items. Do not place plastic that is compostable with recyclable plastics. You can add it to your garden waste and recycle it.

Recyclable Steel

Recyclable steel products come under this symbol. They are collected by household recycling centers. Plastic and metal recycling bins are used for such items. For indoor use, black stainless garbage can types are popular. You can use them to dispose of recyclable steel items.      

Plastic Resin Codes 

You cannot recycle all the plastic items you use. Moreover, different plastic items are recycled in different ways, for which plastic resin codes are used. The resin codes tell you which recycling type the plastic item belongs to. 

These codes are depicted through numbers. A number ranging from 1 to 7 is present in the center of the Mobius Loop.  This loop symbol is also called a chasing arrows pattern.  Find below what each number of the resin code means:                     


Number 1 denotes single-use plastic items. Beer bottles, soft drinks, ketchup bottles, etc. are some of the examples. Make sure to rinse the food residue before you recycle the plastic. Tote bags, paneling, carpet, etc. are made from recycling this type of plastic.


Code number 2 denotes high-density Polyethylene (HDPE). This is a widely used plastic that is robust and durable. You can find it in both soft and hard plastic forms. It is easy to recycle into different items. These include juice bottles, cleaning solution bottles, dog’s and kid’s toys, and more.


The number 3 denotes PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). It is used to make pipes and siding. Since it is cheap, it is found in packaging. PVC is not usually recycled. If recycled, it is used for flooring, mats, cables, decks, etc.


This denotes low-density plastic. You can find it in frozen food packages, squeezable bottles, and furniture. This plastic is not recyclable, so you need to throw it in the trash.


This number denotes the high melting point of plastic. It is recyclable and found in medicine bottles, straws, and caps. Brooms, rakes, bins, and trays are some of the recycled items you get from this plastic-type.


Number 6 denotes polystyrene, which you find in foam products like Styrofoam. It is difficult to recycle. So, you must put it in the trash.


Other plastic products that do not cover the above types fall under this number. Polycarbonate is part of this type. Polylactic acid also belongs to this number code. You can find it in sunglasses, computer cases, five-gallon water bottles, and more. It is not recycled.

Which Items Go Into Your Indoor Recycling Bins

Most items carry recycling labels to help you recycle better. But, there is still confusion over what you can and cannot recycle. Here are some tips:

Items You Can Recycle
  •       Metal lids
  •       Clean foil trays and kitchen foil
  •       Empty hairspray and deodorant aerosols
  •       Empty household cleaner bottles
  •       Envelopes having windows of plastic film
  •       Aluminum tubes
Do Not Recycle the Following Items
  •       Tissues, tissue boxes, and kitchen roll
  •       Coffee cups
  •       Glass cookware, wine glasses, mirrors, and window glass
  •       Plastic toys
  •       Food pouches
  •       Pans, pots, and cutlery

A Few Points to Remember

Do not pour car oil into your drain as it can contaminate freshwater sources. Recycle the car oil by taking it to your local garages or recycling centers.

Milk cartons have a plastic lining. So, do not add them with paper recyclables. Instead, throw them in recycling bins meant for plastic recyclables.

Batteries are recyclable and have separate collection centers.

Using Labels on Indoor Recycling Bins

Indoor recycling bins with labels make it easy for you to know which items go into which bin. The labels come with a strong adhesive.

You can find labels for paper, glass, aluminum, batteries, and other such items. By sticking the labels to your indoor recycling bin, you can customize it.

You can choose plastic or metal cans for recycling. Metal cans are popular for their trendy look and good finish. Invest in sturdy gray or black stainless steel trash can types. These cans are sleek to look at. The stainless-steel finish makes it easy to clean them. When used with a liner, you can keep them clean and hygienic.

Final Takeaway

Now that you know about the common recycling symbols, you will find it easy to separate your trash. Recycling offers plenty of benefits that you cannot ignore. You get to save energy and resources. Make sure you use the right type of recycling bin.

You can choose from customizable bins present now. Or, you can pick the labeled bins. With such bins, recycling will not be confusing for you. To look at the various models of recycling bins and regular garbage bins visit Trash Cans Depot.