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Recycling codes on products

Recycling codes are used to identify the material from which an item is made, to facilitate easier recycling or other reprocessing. Having a recycling code, the chasing arrows logo or a resin code on an item is not an automatic indicator that a material is recyclable but rather an explanation of what the item is. 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 United States there are fewer, as ABS is grouped in with others 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 on the more comprehensive Chinese system.[2]


List of resin identification codes (RIC) and codes defined by the European CommissionEdit

Symbol Code[3] Description Examples
Plastics (see resin identification code[4]) [5]
 [a] #1 PET(E) Polyethylene terephthalate Polyester fibers, soft drink bottles
 [a] #2 PEHD or HDPE High-density polyethylene Plastic bottles, plastic bags, trash cans, oil cans, imitation wood
 [a] #3 PVC Polyvinyl chloride Window frames, bottles for chemicals, flooring, plumbing pipes
 [a] #4 PELD or LDPE Low-density polyethylene Plastic bags, buckets, soap dispenser bottles, milk bottles, plastic tubes
 [a] #5 PP Polypropylene Bumpers, car interior trim, industrial fibers, carry-out beverage cups
 [a] #6 PS Polystyrene Toys, flower pots, video cassettes, ashtrays, trunks, beverage/food coolers, beer cups, wine and champagne cups, carry-out food containers, Styrofoam
 [a] #7 O (OTHER) All other plastics Polycarbonate (PC), polyamide (PA), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylic plastics/polyacrylonitrile (PAN), bioplastics
  #9 or #ABS[citation needed] Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Monitor/TV cases, coffee makers, cell phones, most computer plastic, most FFF 3D printed parts that are not bioplastic such as PLA
  PA[citation needed] Polyamide Nylon
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
Paper [5]
  #20 PAP Corrugated fiberboard
  #21 PAP Non-corrugated fiberboard (paperboard)
  #22 PAP Paper
  #40 FE Steel
#41 ALU Aluminium
Biomatter/Organic material
  #50 FOR Wood
  #51 FOR Cork Bottle stoppers, place mats, construction material
  #60 COT Cotton
  #61 TEX Jute
#62-69 TEX Other Textiles
  #70 GLS Clear Glass
  #71 GLS Green Glass
  #72 GLS Brown 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
#82 Paper and fibreboard/Aluminium
#83 Paper and fibreboard/Tinplate
  #84 C/PAP (or PapAl) Paper and cardboard/Plastic/Aluminium Liquid storage containers, juice boxes, cardboard cans, cigarette pack liners, gum wrappers, cartridge shells for blanks, fireworks colouring material, Tetra Brik.
#85 Paper and fibreboard/plastic/aluminium/tinplate
#87 Card-stock Laminate Biodegradable plastic Laminating material, special occasion cards, bookmarks, business cards, flyers/advertising
  #90 Plastics/Aluminium
#91 Plastic/Tinplate
#92 Plastic/Miscellaneous metals
#95 Glass/Plastic
#96 Glass/Aluminium
#97 Glass/Tinplate
#98 Glass/Miscellaneous metals
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h For the resin codes, ASTM International has replaced the three-arrow symbol by a solid, equilateral triangle because "the code is designed for resin-identification purposes and not recyclability".[6] The three-arrow symbol was based on the Universal Recycling Symbol.

List of Chinese codes for plastics productsEdit

The Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) has defined material codes for different types of plastics in the document GB16288,2008.[7]

Code Abbreviation Name
1 PET poly(ethylene terephthalate)
2 HDPE polyethylene, high density
3 PVC poly(vinyl chloride)
4 LDPE polyethylene, low density
5 PP polypropylene
6 PS polystyrene
7 AB Acrylonitrile-butadiene plastic
8 ABAK Acrylonitrile-butadiene-acrylate plastic
9 ABS Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene plastic
10 ACS Acrylonitrile-chlorinated polyethylene-styrene
11 AEPDS Acrylonitrile-(ethylene-propylene-diene)-styrene plastic
12 AMMA Acrylonitrile-methyl-methacrylate plastic
13 ASA Acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylate plastic
14 CA cellulose acetate
15 CAB cellulose acetate butyrate
16 CAP cellulose acetate propionate
17 CEF cellulose formaldehyde
18 CF cellulose-formaldehyde resin
19 CMC carboxymethyl cellulose
20 CN cellulose nitrate
21 COC cycloolefin copolymer
22 CP cellulose propionate
23 CTA cellulose triacetate
24 E/P Ethylene-propylene plastic
25 EAA Ethylene-acrylic acid plastic
26 EBAK Ethylene-butyl acrylate plastic
27 EC ethyl cellulose
28 EEAK Ethylene-ethyl acrylate plastic
29 EMA Ethylene-methacrylic acid plastic
30 EP epoxide; epoxy resin or plastic
31 ETFE Ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene plastic
32 EVA Ethylene-vinyl acetate plastic
33 EVOH Ethylene-vinyl alcohol plastic
34 FEP perfluoro (ethylene-propylene) plastic
35 FF Furan-formaldehyde resin
36 LCP Liquid-crystal polymer
37 MABS methyl methacrylate-acrylnitrile-butadiene-styrene plastic
38 MBS methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene plastic
39 MC methyl cellulose
40 MF Melamine-formaldahyde resin
41 MP Melamine-phenol resin
42 MSAN α-methylstyrene-acrylonitrile plastic
43 PA polyamide
44 PAA poly(acrylic acid)
45 PAEK polyaryletherketone
46 PAI polyamidimide
47 PAK polyacrylate
48 PAN polyacrylonitrile
49 PAR polyarylate
50 PARA poly(aryl amide)
51 PB polybutene
52 PBAK poly(butyl acrylate)
53 PBAT poly(butylene adipate/terephthalate)
54 PBD 1,2-polybutadiene
55 PBN poly(butylene napthalate)
56 PBS polybuthylenesuccinate
57 PBT poly(butylene terephthalate)
58 PC polycarbonate
59 PCCE poly(cyclohexlyene dimethylene cyclo-hexanedicar-boxylate)
60 PCL polycaprolactone
61 PCT poly(cyclonhexylene dimethylene terephthalate)
62 PCTFE polychlorotrifluoroethylene
63 PDAP poly(diallyl phthalate)
64 PDCPD polydiclopentadiene
65 PEC polyester carbonate or poly(butylene succinate/carbonate)
66 PEC polyestercarbonate
67 PE-C polyethylene, chlorinated
68 PEEK polyetheretherketone
69 PEEST polyetherester
70 PEI polyetherimide
71 PEK polyetherketone
72 LLDPE polyethylene, linear low density
73 MDPE polyethylene, medium density
74 PEN poly(ethylene naphthalate)
75 PEOX poly(ethylene oxide)
76 PES poly(ethylene succinate)
77 PESTUR polyesterurethane
78 PESU polyethersulfone
79 UHMWPE polyethylene, ultra high molecular weight
80 PEUR polyetherurethane
81 VLDPE polyethylene, very low density
82 PF Phenol-formaldehyde resin
83 PFA Perfluoro alkoxyl alkane resin
84 PGA poly(glycolic acid)
85 PHA polyhydroxyalanoic or polyhydroxyalkanoates
86 PHB polyhydroxybutyric acid or polyhydroxybutyrate
87 PHBV poly-(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate)
88 PI polyimide
89 PIB polyisobutylene
90 PIR polyisocyanurate
91 PK polyketone
92 PLA polylactic acid or poly lactide
93 PMI polymethacrylimide
94 PMMA poly(methyl methacrylate)
95 PMMI Poly-N-methylmethacrylimide
96 PMP poly-4-methylpenten-1
97 PMS Poly-α-methylstyrene
98 POM poloxymethylene; polyacetal; polyormaldehyde
99 PPC carbon dioxide and propylene copolymer
100 PPDO Poly(p-dioxanone)
101 PPE poly(phenylene ether)
102 PP-E polypropylene, expandable
103 PP-HI polypropylene, high impact
104 PPOX poly(propylene oxide)
105 PPS poly(phenylene sulfide)
106 PPSU poly(phenylene sulfone)
107 EPS polystyrene, expandable
108 HIPS polystyrene, high impact
109 PSU polysulfone
110 PTFE poly tetrafluoroethylene
111 PTMAT poly(tetramethylene adipate/terephthalate)
112 PTT poly(trimethylene terephthalene)
113 PUR polyurethane
114 PVA poly(vinyl acetate)
115 PVOH poly(vinyl alcohol)
116 PVB poly(vinyl butyral)
117 PVC-C poly(vinyl chloride), chlorinated
118 PVC-U poly(vinyl chloride), unplasticized
119 PVDC poly(vinylidene chloride)
120 PVDF poly(vinylidene fluoride)
121 PVF poly(vinyl fluoride)
122 PVFM poly(vinyl formal)
123 PVK Poly-N-vinylcarbazole
124 PVP Poly-N-vinylpyrrolidine
125 SAN Styrene-acrylonitrile plastic
126 SB Styrene-butadiene plastic
127 SI silicone plastic
128 SMAH Styrene-maleic anyhydride plastic
129 SMS Styrene-α-methylstyrene plastic
130 UF Urea-formaldehyde resin
131 UP unsaturated polyester resin
132 VCE vinyl chloride-ethylene plastic
133 VCEMAK vinyl chloride-ethylene-methyle-acrylate plastic
134 VCEVAC vinyl chloride-ethylene-vinyl acrylate plastic
135 VCMAK vinyl chloride-methyl acrylate plastic
136 VCMMA vinyl chloride-methyl methacrylate plastic
137 VCOAK vinyl chloride-octyl acrylate plastic
138 VCVAC vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate plastic
139 VCVDC Vinylchloride-vynylidene chloride plastic
140 VE vinyl ester resin

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ "EUR-Lex - 31997D0129 - EN - EUR-Lex". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  4. ^ Plastic Packaging Resins American Chemistry Council
  5. ^ a b Official Journal of the EC; Commission Decision (97/129/EC) establishing the ID system for packaging materials pursuant to European Parliament & Council Directive 94/62/EC
  6. ^ Jessica Holbrook. Say so long to recycling code arrows. June 2013.
  7. ^ Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) GB16288,2008. Marking of plastics products. Chinese Standard Publishing House, Beijing; 2008, as cited in E. J. Hunt, C. Zhang, N.Anzalone, and J. 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

External linksEdit