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. 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. 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.
List of resin identification codes (RIC) and codes defined by the European Commission
List of Chinese codes for plastics products
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.
- Resin identification code
- Japanese recycling symbols
- Waste hierarchy
- Waste management
- Food safe symbol
- Bag It (documentary)
- Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China (SAC) GB16288,2008. Marking of plastics products. Chinese Standard Publishing House, Beijing; 2008.
- 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
- "EUR-Lex - 31997D0129 - EN - EUR-Lex". eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- Plastic Packaging Resins American Chemistry Council
- 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
- Jessica Holbrook. Say so long to recycling code arrows. plasticnews.com. June 2013.
- 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
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- Christie Engineering Standard – Packaging Labeling and Design for Environment Guidelines Includes lists of material codes in several countries.
- Packaging Material Codes Includes lists of material codes in Germany.