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Recycling codes

Recycling codes are used to identify the material from which an item is made, to facilitate easier recycling or other reprocessing. Such symbols have been defined for batteries, biomatter/organic material, glass, metals, paper, and plastics.[citation needed] Various countries have adopted different codes. For example, the Table below shows the polymer resin codes (plastic) for a country. In the USAthere are less as ABS is grouped in with other in group 7. Other countries have a more granular recycling code system. For example, China's polymer identification system has seven different classifications of plastic, five different symbols for post-consumer paths, and 140 identification codes [1] The lack of codes in some countries has encouraged those who can fabricate their own plastic products, such as RepRap and other prosumer 3-D printer users, to adopt a voluntary recycling code based off of the more comprehensive Chinese system. [2]

Symbol Code Description Examples
Plastics (see resin identification code[3])
50px #1 PET(E) Polyethylene terephthalate Polyester fibers, soft drink bottles
50px #2 PEHD or HDPE High-density polyethylene Plastic bottles, plastic bags, trash cans, imitation wood
50px #3 PVC Polyvinyl chloride Window frames, bottles for chemicals, flooring, plumbing pipes
50px #4 PELD or LDPE Low-density polyethylene Plastic bags, buckets, soap dispenser bottles, plastic tubes
50px #5 PP Polypropylene Bumpers, car interior trim, industrial fibers, carry-out beverage cups
50px #6 PS Polystyrene Toys, flower pots, video cassettes, ashtrays, trunks, beverage/food coolers, beer cups, wine and champagne cups, carry-out food containers, Styrofoam
50px #7 O (OTHER) All other plastics Polycarbonate (PC), polyamide (PA), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylic plastics/polyacrylonitrile (PAN), bioplastics
50px #9 or #ABS[citation needed] Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Monitor/TV cases, coffee makers, cell phones, most computer plastic
Batteries (see also battery recycling)
#8 Lead[citation needed] Lead–acid battery Car batteries
#9 or #19 Alkaline Alkaline battery
#10 NiCD Nickel–cadmium battery
#11 NiMH Nickel–metal hydride battery
#12 Li Lithium battery
#13 SO(Z) Silver-oxide battery
#14 CZ Zinc–carbon battery
50px #20 C PAP (PCB) Cardboard
50px #21 PAP Other paper Mixed paper magazines, mail
50px #22 PAP Paper
#23 PBD (PPB) Paperboard Greeting cards, frozen food boxes, book covers
50px #40 FE Steel
#41 ALU Aluminium
Biomatter/Organic material
50px #50 FOR Wood
50px #51 FOR Cork Bottle stoppers, place mats, construction material
50px #60 COT Cotton
50px #61 TEX Jute
#62-69 TEX Other Textiles
50px #70 GLS Mixed Glass Container/Multi-Part Container
50px #71 GLS Clear Glass
50px #72 GLS Green Glass
#73 GLS Dark Sort Glass
#74 GLS Light Sort Glass
#75 GLS Light Leaded Glass Televisions, high-end electronics display glass
#76 GLS Leaded Glass Older televisions, ash trays, older beverage holders
#77 GLS Copper Mixed/Copper Backed Glass Electronics, LCD Display heads, Clocks/Watches
#78 GLS Silver Mixed/Silver Backed Glass Mirrors, formal table settings
#79 GLS Gold Mixed/Gold Backed Glass Computer glass, formal table settings
Composites (80—99)
#81 PapPet Paper + plastic consumer packaging, pet food bags, cold store grocery bags, Icecream containers, cardboard cans, disposable plates
50px #84 C/PAP (or PapAl) Paper and cardboard / Plastic / Aluminium liquid storage containers, juice boxes, cardboard cans, Cigarette pack liners, gum wrappers, cartage shells for blanks, fireworks colouring material, Tetra Brik.
#87 Card-stock Laminate Biodegradable plastic laminating material, special occasion cards, bookmarks, business cards, flyers/advertising

See also


  1. ^ Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) GB16288,2008. Marking of plastics products. Chinese Standard Publishing House, Beijing; 2008.
  2. ^ Emily J. Hunt, Chenlong Zhang, Nick Anzalone, Joshua M. Pearce, [ Polymer recycling codes for distributed manufacturing with 3-D printers], Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 97, pp. 24-30 (2015). DOI:10.1016/j.resconrec.2015.02.004
  3. ^ Plastic Packaging Resins American Chemistry Council

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