Plastics symbol redesigned to combat consumer confusion

15-Jul-2013

The symbol will now be replaced by a solid equilateral triangle with a resin number inside it

The ‘chasing arrows’ symbol used on packaging to indicate which resins are used is to be replaced with a triangle instead, to prevent the public from thinking that the item can be recycled.

The move was prompted by US standards organisation ASTM Plastics Committee, which oversees the standards for coding plastics. The arrow coding, officially named the Resin Identification Code (RIC), is currently displayed on plastic packaging, with a number from one to seven encircled by a Mobius

loop, and is intended to indicate the type of resin used in the packaging.

Developed in 1988 by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), it was designed to help waste recovery facilities sort out different sorts of plastics and was never a guarantee of recyclability, but has come to be regarded as such by many consumers. To avoid confusion, the symbol will now be replaced by a solid equilateral triangle with the resin number inside it.

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The new symbol will be phased in gradually and only applies to new items.

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