Recycling Symbols

Know Whats What



The Triman symbol was implemented into French law and came into effect from 1 January 2015. The Triman symbol should be placed on any recyclable household packaging or product affected by Extended Producer Responsibility in France.

Three elements make up the symbol, which are inseparable:

  1. Human silhouette which represents the consumer
  2. Three arrows which symbolise sorting to allow for better waste treatment
  3. Circular background which symbolises recycling

Green Dot


The Green Dot is a widely recognised symbol in many European Countries.  It signifies that for each piece of packaging, a financial contribution has been paid to a national packaging recovery organisation.  The Green Dot is a mandatory trade mark in some countries, which means that the first person to place packaging onto the market must pay a licence fee to use the Green Dot in that country and ensure that the Green Dot is printed on their packaging.

The Green Dot is a registered and protected trademark in the UK, but has no other specific meaning for UK consumers.



There are recycling facilities across the UK for aluminium. To find your nearest recycling sites please visit the recycling locator.

Augmented Reality


By using your mobile device, AR-Code lets you add a digital dimension made by interactive contents to the real world around you. To view these you need to download the application, look for the AR-Code Stamp or discover which item is made alive by AR-Code (magazine page, packaging, cinema billboard, retail sign, sticker or even a building), point at the item, download the contents and, in just a few seconds, interact with a range of videos, sounds, games and information that appear in Augmented Reality on your device’s screen.

Symbols on Batteries

This recycling symbol is very similar to the electrical items recycling symbol, but does not have a bar at the bottom of the crossed out wheeled bin.
This symbol is used to support the Battery Directive which became part of UK law in 2008.
Batteries must be labelled with the crossed out wheeled bin symbols (shown below) to help consumers choose batteries and recycle them:
Cd, Hg and Pb underneath the wheelie bin symbol shows whether the battery contains, cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg) or lead (Pb). 

Best before / Use by / Sell by Dates

A best before date means that a product should be at its best up until the date displayed. For edible products, they are still safe to consume after the best before date; however, there may be some loss of flavour or quality.
A use by date is the guaranteed date that a edible product is safe to consume by, as long as the packaging has been left intact.
A sell by date is added by the retailer and is not really relevant to the consumer. 

C E Marking

CE marking is a key indicator of a product�€�s compliance with EU legislation and enables the free movement of products within the European market.
By affixing the CE marking on a product, a manufacturer is declaring, on his sole responsibility, conformity with all of the legal requirements to achieve CE marking and therefore ensuring validity for that product to be sold throughout the EEA, the 27 member states of the EU and European Free Trade Association countries – Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Turkey. This also applies to products made in third countries which are sold in the EEA and Turkey. 

Electrical / Electronic Equipment


Electrical and Electronic Equipment that was produced after 13 August 2005 should display this symbol on the packaging or product. Either send the product to be repaired or use the recycling locator to find out where it can be recycled. 

Energy Efficiency


Energy Efficiency is a Government backed initiative run by the Energy Saving Trust aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of energy efficient products and services that will help to save you money, energy and to help the environment.

Symbols on Glass


There are recycling facilities across the UK for glass. To find your nearest recycling sites please visit the recycling locator.

Mobius Loop


Packaging that displays the mobius loop is capable of being recycled. However, please be aware that this symbol does not necessarily mean that the material can be recycled in the UK. 

Mobius Loop with %


If packaging displays this mobius loop it contains x% of recycled material. Use of this symbol is voluntary. Not all packaging with recycled material content carries this symbol. 

On Pack

The On-Pack Recycling Label scheme aims to deliver a simpler, UK-wide, consistent, recycling message on both retailer private label and brand-owner packaging to help consumers recycle more material, more often. Launched by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) with support from WRAP, the On-Pack Recycling Label scheme is administered through a subsidiary company called OPRL Ltd.
If your business would like to print the label on your packaging, you will need to become a member of the On-Pack Recycling Label scheme for more information on how to join, fees, and benefits of joining the scheme visit
It is important to check what your local authority will accept, as some authorities do collect material which may be marked as not currently recycled, while others may not collect packaging that is marked as widely recycled. The range of packaging that can be recycled changes regularly. Visit the recycle-more recycling locator to check what recycling is possible in your area.

National Association of Paper Merchants

Paper and board that displays the NAPM Recycled Paper Mark will have been made from a minimum of 50% genuine recovered fibre. For further information please visit:

Symbols on Plastics

These symbols help consumers to identify different types of plastic. Most of the plastic recycling facilities in the UK will accept PET and HDPE bottles.
Download our plastic symbols identification chart here.

QR Code


QR Code stands for quick response code. You can use a barcode application on your mobile phone to scan the QR Code and you will then be taken to a website containing further information or an SMS message. 



Another symbol often displayed on paper and cardboard packaging is the RESY recycling symbol. This symbol guarantees that packaging with this symbol is recyclable and will be accepted by cardboard recyclers.

In order to apply the symbol, you must first have an agreement with Resy. Resy is a German recycling system and the agreement can be viewed here. Once the agreement with Resy is in place a unique number is provided, which is then applied next to the symbol. The Resy applies to secondary and transit paper and card packaging.

Seedling Compostable Logo


The ‘seedling’ is the registered trademark of Europea Bioplastics. Products certified to be industrially compostable according to the European standard EN 13432/1495 may bear the ‘seedling’ logo.



There are recycling facilities across the UK for steel. To find your nearest recycling sites please visit the recycling locator.

The Tidy Man


This isn’t a recycling symbol. It appears on packaging as a reminder to the consumer to be considerate with how they dispose of it. Do not litter and recycle where appropriate Keep Britain Tidy

UK Cartridge Recycling Association

This symbol indicates that certain environmental criteria for toner cartridge recycling have been met

UK Cartridge Recycling Association

This symbol indicates that certain environmental criteria for toner cartridge recycling have been met

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

The FSC logo is displayed on products which contain wood from sustainably managed forests. These forests have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council A.C.

Please visit the FSC website for further details on sustainable wood and the logo: