Recycling: Numbers, Codes, Chart, Resin, BPA (2018 Edit)

recycle-numbersRecycling the materials helps to maintain the ecological balance.

We can reuse or recycle things those are identified through certain numbers.

These numbers are centered inside chasing arrows by clockwise. These are called the recycling numbers. Usually, these numbers are mostly found on the body of plastic things such as…

  • Toys
  • Bags
  • Bins
  • Cars
  • Packages etc.


Recycling symbols can be also in a different color along with recycling numbers. The scale of the recycling numbers is between 1-7.

These numbers show the idea whether the product is recyclable, reusable or not.

This also lets the buyers or users the concept of buying recycled products.

Recycling Numbers/Codes

Different countries have different types of recycling codes. Resin Identification Code (RIC) first appeared in 1988.

China has a different polymer identification system. They classified plastics into seven types and have five separate symbols for post-consumer paths.

They also have 140 identification codes of plastics.

Numbers or codes can be unfamiliar but the target of these recycling numbers or codes is always the same.

Recycling Numbers Chart

List of Chinese codes for plastics products 1 to 140:

China’s Standardization Administration listed 140 types of material codes of multiple types of plastics. These are written in the document GB16288,2008.

1PETpoly(ethylene terephthalate)
2HDPEpolyethylene, high density
3PVCpoly(vinyl chloride)
4LDPEpolyethylene, low density
7ABAcrylonitrile-butadiene plastic
8ABAKAcrylonitrile-butadiene-acrylate plastic
9ABSAcrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene plastic
10ACSAcrylonitrile-chlorinated polyethylene-styrene
11AEPDSAcrylonitrile-(ethylene-propylene-diene)-styrene plastic
12AMMAAcrylonitrile-methyl-methacrylate plastic
13ASAAcrylonitrile-styrene-acrylate plastic
14CAcellulose acetate
15CABcellulose acetate butyrate
16CAPcellulose acetate propionate
17CEFcellulose formaldehyde
18CFcellulose-formaldehyde resin
19CMCcarboxymethyl cellulose
20CNcellulose nitrate
21COCcycloolefin copolymer
22CPcellulose propionate
23CTAcellulose triacetate
24E/PEthylene-propylene plastic
25EAAEthylene-acrylic acid plastic
26EBAKEthylene-butyl acrylate plastic
27ECethyl cellulose
28EEAKEthylene-ethyl acrylate plastic
29EMAEthylene-methacrylic acid plastic
30EPepoxide; epoxy resin or plastic
31ETFEEthylene-tetrafluoroethylene plastic
32EVAEthylene-vinyl acetate plastic
33EVOHEthylene-vinyl alcohol plastic
34FEPperfluoro (ethylene-propylene) plastic
35FFFuran-formaldehyde resin
36LCPLiquid-crystal polymer
37MABSmethyl methacrylate-acrylnitrile-butadiene-styrene plastic
38MBSmethyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene plastic
39MCmethyl cellulose
40MFMelamine-formaldahyde resin
41MPMelamine-phenol resin
42MSANα-methylstyrene-acrylonitrile plastic
44PAApoly(acrylic acid)
50PARApoly(aryl amide)
52PBAKpoly(butyl acrylate)
53PBATpoly(butylene adipate/terephthalate)
55PBNpoly(butylene napthalate)
57PBTpoly(butylene terephthalate)
59PCCEpoly(cyclohexlyene dimethylene cyclo-hexanedicar-boxylate)
61PCTpoly(cyclonhexylene dimethylene terephthalate)
63PDAPpoly(diallyl phthalate)
65PECpolyester carbonate or poly(butylene succinate/carbonate)
67PE-Cpolyethylene, chlorinated
72LLDPEpolyethylene, linear low density
73MDPEpolyethylene, medium density
74PENpoly(ethylene naphthalate)
75PEOXpoly(ethylene oxide)
76PESpoly(ethylene succinate)
79UHMWPEpolyethylene, ultra-high molecular weight
81VLDPEpolyethylene, very low density
82PFPhenol-formaldehyde resin
83PFAPerfluoro alkoxyl alkane resin
84PGApoly(glycolic acid)
85PHApolyhydroxyalanoic or polyhydroxyalkanoates
86PHBpolyhydroxybutyric acid or polyhydroxybutyrate
92PLApolylactic acid or poly lactide
94PMMApoly(methyl methacrylate)
98POMpoloxymethylene; polyacetal; polyormaldehyde
99PPCcarbon dioxide and propylene copolymer
101PPEpoly(phenylene ether)
102PP-Epolypropylene, expandable
103PP-HIpolypropylene, high impact
104PPOXpoly(propylene oxide)
105PPSpoly(phenylene sulfide)
106PPSUpoly(phenylene sulfone)
107EPSpolystyrene, expandable
108HIPSpolystyrene, high impact
110PTFEpoly tetrafluoroethylene
111PTMATpoly(tetramethylene adipate/terephthalate)
112PTTpoly(trimethylene terephthalene)
114PVApoly(vinyl acetate)
115PVOHpoly(vinyl alcohol)
116PVBpoly(vinyl butyral)
117PVC-Cpoly(vinyl chloride), chlorinated
118PVC-Upoly(vinyl chloride), unplasticized
119PVDCpoly(vinylidene chloride)
120PVDFpoly(vinylidene fluoride)
121PVFpoly(vinyl fluoride)
122PVFMpoly(vinyl formal)
125SANStyrene-acrylonitrile plastic
126SBStyrene-butadiene plastic
127SIsilicone plastic
128SMAHStyrene-maleic anyhydride plastic
129SMSStyrene-α-methylstyrene plastic
130UFUrea-formaldehyde resin
131UPunsaturated polyester resin
132VCEvinyl chloride-ethylene plastic
133VCEMAKvinyl chloride-ethylene-methyle-acrylate plastic
134VCEVACvinyl chloride-ethylene-vinyl acrylate plastic
135VCMAKvinyl chloride-methyl acrylate plastic
136VCMMAvinyl chloride-methyl methacrylate plastic
137VCOAKvinyl chloride-octyl acrylate plastic
138VCVACvinyl chloride-vinyl acetate plastic
139VCVDCVinylchloride-vynylidene chloride plastic
140VEvinyl ester resin


List of Resin Identification Codes (RIC) and codes defined by the European Commission:

These RIC codes are not only for plastics. These code work for plastics, batteries, paper, metals, biomatter/organic material, glass, and composites.

#1 PET(E)Polyethylene terephthalatePolyester fibers, soft drink bottles
#2 PEHD or HDPEHigh-density polyethylenePlastic bottles, plastic bags, trash cans, oil cans, imitation wood
#3 PVCPolyvinyl chlorideWindow frames, bottles for chemicals, flooring, plumbing pipes
#4 PELD or LDPELow-density polyethylenePlastic bags, buckets, soap dispenser bottles, milk bottles, plastic tubes
#5 PPPolypropyleneBumpers, car interior trim, industrial fibers, carry-out beverage cups
#6 PSPolystyreneToys, flower pots, video cassettes, ashtrays, trunks, beverage/food coolers, beer cups, wine and champagne cups, carry-out food containers, Styrofoam
#7 O (OTHER)All other plasticsPolycarbonate (PC), polyamide (PA), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylic plastics/polyacrylonitrile (PAN), bioplastics
#9 or #ABSAcrylonitrile butadiene styreneMonitor/TV cases, coffee makers, cell phones, most computer plastic, most FFF 3D printed parts that are not bioplastic such as PLA
#8 LeadLead–acid batteryCar batteries
#9 or #19 AlkalineAlkaline battery
#10 NiCDNickel–cadmium battery
#11 NiMHNickel–metal hydride battery
#12 LiLithium battery
#13 SO(Z)Silver-oxide battery
#14 CZZinc–carbon battery
#20 PAPCorrugated fiberboard
#21 PAPNon-corrugated fiberboard (paperboard)
#22 PAPPaper
#40 FESteel
#41 ALUAluminum
Biomatter/Organic material
#50 FORWood
#51 FORCorkBottle stoppers, place mats, construction material
#60 COTCotton
#61 TEXJute
#62-69 TEXOther Textiles
#70 GLSMixed Glass Container/Multi-Part Container
#71 GLSClear Glass
#72 GLSGreen Glass
#73 GLSDark Sort Glass
#74 GLSLight Sort Glass
#75 GLSLight Leaded GlassTelevisions, high-end electronics display glass
#76 GLSLeaded GlassOlder televisions, ashtrays, older beverage holders
#77 GLSCopper Mixed/Copper Backed GlassElectronics, LCD display heads, clocks, watches
#78 GLSSilver Mixed/Silver Backed GlassMirrors, formal table settings
#79 GLSGold Mixed/Gold Backed GlassComputer glass, formal table settings
Composites (80—99)
#81 PapPetPaper + plasticConsumer packaging, pet food bags, cold store grocery bags, Icecream containers, cardboard cans, disposable plates
#82Paper and fibreboard/Aluminium
#83Paper and fibreboard/Tinplate
#84 C/PAP (or PapAl)Paper and cardboard/Plastic/AluminiumLiquid storage containers, juice boxes, cardboard cans, cigarette pack liners, gum wrappers, cartage shells for blanks, fireworks coloring material, Tetra Brik.
#85Paper and fibreboard/plastic/aluminium/tinplate
#87 Card-stock LaminateBiodegradable plasticLaminating material, special occasion cards, bookmarks, business cards, flyers/advertising
#92Plastic/Miscellaneous Metals
#98Glass/Miscellaneous Metals 



Table of Resin Codes

The ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System is popularly known as RIC. This RIC is a set of symbols those speak about the ingredients of the plastic products. The Plastics Industry Association has developed the Resin Codes in 1988. ASTM International is an administration this from 2008.

Recycling numberImageAlternate image #1Alternate image #2AbbreviationPolymer nameUsesRecycling
1PETE or PETPolyethylene terephthalatePolyester fibers (Polar Fleece), thermoformed sheet, strapping, soft drink bottles, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling and (occasionally) new containers. (See also: Recycling of PET bottles)Picked up through most curbside recycling programs.
2HDPE or PE-HDHigh-density polyethyleneBottles, grocery bags, milk jugs, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumberPicked up through most curbside recycling programs, although some allow only those containers with necks.
3PVC or VPolyvinyl chloridePipe, window profile, siding, fencing, flooring, shower curtains, lawn chairs, non-food bottles, and children’s toys.Extensively recycled in Europe;481,000 tonnes in 2014 through Vinyl 2010 and VinylPlus initiatives.
4LDPE or PE-LDLow-density polyethylenePlastic bags, six-pack rings, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various molded laboratory equipmentLDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.
5PPPolypropyleneAuto parts, industrial fibres, food containers, and dishwareNumber 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
6PSPolystyreneDesk accessories, cafeteria trays, plastic utensils, toys, video cassettes and cases, clamshell containers, packaging peanuts, and insulation board and other expanded polystyrene products (e.g., Styrofoam)Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
7OTHER or OOther plastics, such as acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid (a bioplastic), and multilayer combinations of different plasticsBottles, plastic lumber applications, headlight lenses, and safety shields/glasses.Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.


After 2013, ASTM revised the RIC symbols. Now they are identified as below:

RIC symbols after ASTM's 2013 revision

Let’s have a brief idea about these above Resin Codes:

#Number one:

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

This type of plastics is a very common form to be found in water and pop, soft drink bottles, peanut butter containers etc. These types of plastics are mostly used for the single-use purpose. PET plastic is recyclable but it is difficult to decontaminate.

#Number two:

HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

HDPE plastic is used to produce jugs; oil, detergent, bleach, shampoo bottles; toys and some plastic bags for the stiffness and heat-resistance. This is recyclable and reusable.

#Number three:

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC is the soft and flexible type of plastic. Manufacturers use PVC to produce food wrapper, oil bottles, computer cables, pipes, plumbing parts, siding, windows etc.  PVC made products are not recyclable.

#Number four:

LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)

Different wraps, clothing bags, squeezable bottles, bread bags etc. are made of LDPE plastics. LDPE plastic is less recyclable but always recyclable.

#Number five:

PP (Polypropylene)

You can see the presence of Polypropylene is disposable diapers, syrup and ketchup bottles, bottle caps, different containers, chips bags etc. PP is reusable but less recyclable.

#Number six:

PS (Polystyrene)

The use of Polystyrene is much significant for its affordability, lightweight nature, and the easy reformation. You can find PS in meat trays, cartons, aspirin bottles, CD cases etc.  Recycling of Polystyrene is less regular to happen.

#Number seven:

Other (BPA, Polycarbonate, and LEXAN)

The other types of plastics are used to make baby bottles, big water bottles, sunglasses, computer cases, sippy cups, car parts etc. These are not recommended for reuse.

Meaning of Recycling Symbol without Number:

There are also recycling symbols available those contain no number. These are not plastic. These are kind of descriptive text that illustrates the particular object.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has a different type of recycling symbol which is indifferent to the “recyclable” symbol for plastic resins. There are two different pairs of the number in this symbol. First one says the minimum percentage of a percentage of post-consumer recycled content (in this case 50%), and the second one tells total recycled content (in this case 80%).

Blue colored chasing arrows is also a newly appeared symbol. The Green Dot, RBRC etc. symbols also contain no number like the RIC symbols.

Recycling Rates

This below chart is for the recycling rates of different countries.

CountryRecycling and compostingIncineration with energy recoveryIncineration without energy recoveryLandfill
Australia411no data58
Canada24no data472
Czech Republic2419056
Greece19no datano data81
Hungary269no data65
Israel19no datano data81
Luxembourg4835no data17
Mexico5no datano data95
New Zealandno datano datano data100
Slovak Republic1111071
Turkey1no data099
United Kingdom4321034
United States3512no data54



Now, I am showing you some frequently asked questions about the recycling numbers:

Question: What Can Recycling Numbers Be Recycled?
Answer: 1, 2, 4.

Question: What Do Recycling Numbers mean?
Answer: Recycling numbers mean what is the ingredient and the recycling condition (possibility) of a particular product.

Question: Which Recycling Numbers Have BPA?
Answer: Number 07.

Question: Which Recycling Numbers or Codes Contain BPA?
Answer: Number 07.

Question: Which Recycling Numbers Are BPA Free?
Answer: 1, 2 and 4.

Question: Which Recycling Codes Are Most Environmentally Friendly?
Answer: 2, 4 and 5.

Question: Which Recycling Codes Are Safe?
Answer: 2, 4 and 5.

Question: Which Recycling Numbers Are Bad?
Answer: 6 and 7.

Question: Which Recycling Numbers Can Be Recycled?
Answer: 1, 2, 4.

Question: What Are Recycling Codes?
Answer: Recycling Codes is the identification of a material that is safe or unsafe, reusable or not, recyclable or not etc.

Question: What Recycling Number Is Styrofoam?
Answer: Number 6.

Final Thoughts

Recycling numbers are developed with a great motive. A user should know what material he or she is using for daily uses. These materials can be paper, glass, metal, plastics etc. Recycling Codes or numbers allow getting the idea of reuse and recycling. A person should know the proper concept of this certain topic. This can lead to a healthy environment and a healthy life.