What Do These Recycling Symbols Mean?

Published 22nd Apr 2024 by Sian Jones

We are all determined to do our bit when it comes to recycling but sometimes the guidance as to what barbering products can and cannot be recycled (and how) can leave some confused and tempted to take the easy route and ignore the symbols completely. As brands and suppliers continue to increase their efforts to make their products more sustainable it's only right that we should all play our part, no matter how small. So here's our guide to recycling symbols, letting you know what is sustainable and what's a load of old rubbish...

What do these recycling symbols mean?

Mobius Loop

This means the item is capable of being recycled, but not that it has been recycled, or will be accepted in all recycling collection systems. Sometimes this is accompanied by a percentage figure that indicates it's made from X% recycled material.

Plastic Resin Codes

This identifies the type of plastic used. The number in the middle (which ranges from one to seven) acts as a resin identification code alongside the plastic's acronym (e.g. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate).

Glass Recycling

This symbol encourages you to recycle glass containers in a bottle bank (remember to separate different coloured glass). Alternatively, use your glass household recycling collection service if your local council has one.

Forest Stewardship Council

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo shows that wood and other forest-based items are sourced from well-managed forests and/or recycled and controlled sources and comply with the rules of the FSC.

Not Yet Recycled

This label is applied to products that are recycled by less than 20% of local authorities in the UK.

Check Locally

This symbol appears on packagaing that is collected by 20-75% of local authorities in the UK.

Recyclable Steel

This means the item is made of steel and can be recycled by all local authorities.

Aluminum Recycling

The aluminium icon means the object is made from recyclable aluminium.

Compostable Recycling

The seedling icon means the item can be composted. However, don't mix this with recyclable items as it contaminates the recycling process.

The Green Dot

This symbol does not necessarily mean the item is recyclable. However, it means the producer has made a financial contribution to the recycling of packaging in Europe.

Waste Electricals

Some electrical items cannot be disposed of in normal waste. Check with your local authority for kerbside collection, or recycle them at a recycling centre or larger retailers.

Widely Recycled

This icon means the item is collected by 75% or more of local authorities across the UK. Variations of the symbol include instruction such as rinsing the item first or keeping the lid of the product on.


Want to find out about terms like green hushing? Click here.

Sian Jones

Sian Jones

Published 22nd Apr 2024

Sian is Editor Modern Barber and Deputy Editor Hairdressers Journal International. She has over ten years’ experience writing for print publications covering Youth & Children, TV & Entertainment and Lifestyle. Sian graduated with a degree in journalism, and whilst studying was nominated for the Guardian Digital Journalist of the Year award in 2011.

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