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Plastic bottle

Recycling symbols for plastic – signs of our times

If plastic is thrown away with your rubbish into landfill, it can take up to 500 years to decompose. Other plastic, as you will have seen on the news recently, ends up in the sea and harming ecosystems. There is a simple alternative: Recycle it.

Plastic makes up more than 10% of an average household’s waste. Yet, most of it can be recycled.

You can also save on waste by reducing how much plastic you buy and also reusing things like plastic bottles before you recycle them. The council is reviewing its own use of any single-use plastics.

Councillor Mik Sabiers, cabinet member for environment and highways, said: “National statistics suggest that many families throw away about 40kg of plastic that could have been recycled, every year. Recycling it could make a big difference – and not just to the environment. It saves us from wasting money: The more we recycle, the less we have to spend on the evergrowing landfill taxes that can cost boroughs millions of pounds. Simply put, the more we recycle, the more councils have to spend on providing your services.”


The symbols on the bottom of many plastic products identify the different types of plastic and their chemical composition – and if they can be recycled.

See the table below for more details of the symbols. You can also get lots more advice and information on recycling in our borough at www.ealing.gov.uk/recycling

Plastics recycling - using symbols as a guide
Plastics recycling – using symbols as a guide

You can download this recycling table as a PDF table

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