Recycling: Numbers, Codes, Chart, Resin, BPA

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.

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


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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.

Symbol Code Description Examples
#1 PET(E) Polyethylene terephthalate Polyester fibers, soft drink bottles
#2 PEHD or HDPE High-density polyethylene Plastic bottles, plastic bags, trash cans, oil cans, imitation wood
#3 PVC Polyvinyl chloride Window frames, bottles for chemicals, flooring, plumbing pipes
#4 PELD or LDPE Low-density polyethylene Plastic bags, buckets, soap dispenser bottles, milk bottles, plastic tubes
#5 PP Polypropylene Bumpers, car interior trim, industrial fibers, carry-out beverage cups
#6 PS Polystyrene Toys, 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 plastics Polycarbonate (PC), polyamide (PA), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylic plastics/polyacrylonitrile (PAN), bioplastics
#9 or #ABS 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 Polyamide Nylon
#8 Lead 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
#20 PAP Corrugated fiberboard
#21 PAP Non-corrugated fiberboard (paperboard)
#22 PAP Paper
#40 FE Steel
#41 ALU Aluminum
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 Mixed Glass Container/Multi-Part Container
#71 GLS Clear Glass
#72 GLS Green 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, ashtrays, 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, cartage shells for blanks, fireworks coloring 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  



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 number Image Alternate image #1 Alternate image #2 Abbreviation Polymer name Uses Recycling
1 PETE or PET Polyethylene terephthalate Polyester 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.
2 HDPE or PE-HD High-density polyethylene Bottles, grocery bags, milk jugs, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber Picked up through most curbside recycling programs, although some allow only those containers with necks.
3 PVC or V Polyvinyl chloride Pipe, 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.
4 LDPE or PE-LD Low-density polyethylene Plastic bags, six-pack rings, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various molded laboratory equipment LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.
5 PP Polypropylene Auto parts, industrial fibres, food containers, and dishware Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
6 PS Polystyrene Desk 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.
7 OTHER or O Other plastics, such as acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid (a bioplastic), and multilayer combinations of different plastics Bottles, 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.

Country Recycling and composting Incineration with energy recovery Incineration without energy recovery Landfill
Australia 41 1 no data 58
Austria 58 35 0 4
Belgium 55 43 1 1
Canada 24 no data 4 72
Chile 1 0 0 99
Czech Republic 24 19 0 56
Denmark 44 54 0 2
Estonia 30 0 0 70
Finland 33 42 0 25
France 38 33 1 28
Germany 65 22 13 0
Greece 19 no data no data 81
Hungary 26 9 no data 65
Iceland 45 5 1 49
Ireland 40 18 0 42
Israel 19 no data no data 81
Italy 41 21 0 38
Japan 19 71 6 1
Korea 59 24 1 16
Luxembourg 48 35 no data 17
Mexico 5 no data no data 95
Netherlands 50 48 1 1
New Zealand no data no data no data 100
Norway 39 57 0 2
Poland 29 6 2 63
Portugal 26 24 0 50
Slovak Republic 11 11 0 71
Slovenia 58 1 0 36
Spain 30 10 0 60
Sweden 50 50 0 1
Switzerland 51 49 0 0
Turkey 1 no data 0 99
United Kingdom 43 21 0 34
United States 35 12 no data 54



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.

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