Recognising Plastic Symbols

Here at Precious Plastic Plymouth and Tavistock we use a range of plastic waste collected by the community to make our fun new products. Here’s how to identify which type of plastics you have around your home!

Recycling symbols and what they mean. originally created by

These symbols can be found on most plastic packaging, they are usually embossed and can be a little difficult to find, so make sure you check thoroughly. They can often be found on the bottom of packaging or inside bottle lids, sometimes they can be found on removable packaging made of other materials so it’s always useful to double check before discarding anything!

What plastics do we use?

Many of our products are currently made with PP (number 5), HDPE (number 2), and LDPE (number 4), but we are always looking to expand the types of plastic that we can use. We are currently investigating the potential use of waste PLA (which currently belongs to number 7) from 3D printing at the University of Plymouth and Plymouth College of Art, so keep an eye our for more information about that.

What can be recycled?

Even if you don’t bring your waste plastic to us, make sure you always recycle where possible! Anywhere you see The Möbius Loop, just like those pictured above, it means that the plastic product can be recycled regardless of the number inside it. Möbius Loops can also have a number percentage inside when the materials used in production are recycled:

This tells us what percentage of the product is made from recycled materials!

Always check with your local council as to what can be recycled and how. Here in Plymouth, the council list a few examples of the sorts of things that you can recycle. These include drink and shampoo bottles, food trays, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and ice cream tubs, fruit punnets, detergent bottles and much more. See their website for more details:

We are always looking for ways of bringing in more plastic from the community. If you have any bottle tops that you’ve been collecting, you can drop them off to our studio in Royal William Yard, or contact us to discuss arranging a collection. We are looking at getting some collection centres set up for the public to easily drop off their waste plastic, so keep an eye out on our website and social media for more information!