Dizzying array of recycling symbols ‘is confusing consumers’

Rebecca Smithers | The Guardian | 30/07/2018

Which? says people often don’t understand various symbols found on packaging

A confusing array of symbols on household packaging is leaving consumers in the dark about what can be recycled, research reveals.

Nearly half of respondents to a survey carried out in the UK by consumer group Which? thought that products stamped with the so-called green dot (a circle of two intertwined arrows) were recyclable, when in fact it means only that a manufacturer has paid into a scheme that supports recyclable packaging and systems.

By far the strongest recognition was of the familiar Mobius Loop (three separate arrows looped into a triangle), which means that something can be recycled. In the survey of 2,155 people, 73% knew it meant this was the case. It does not indicate that an object will be accepted in all recycling collection systems.

Despite the war on single-use plastics, only 32% said they understood what the Mobius Loop with PET (polyethylene terephthalate) meant. The number inside the arrows refers to the resin code for the type of plastic used.