Understand packaging recycling codes and labels
Product packaging often has a recycling symbol with a code in it.
Products with a 1,2,3,4 or 5 code go into your recycling bin. Find out what types of plastic products can go into your recycling bin
Australasian Recycling Label
The Australasian Recycling Label tells you which bits of the packaging (such as the box, the wrap or the lid) go into which bin.
It helps to keep recyclables out of landfill. Look for the label on products in the supermarket. To find out what the different symbols on the labels mean go to Planet Ark: Australasian recycling label.
Plastic containers and recycling codes explained
Check the bottom of a plastic tray or container and you will probably see the recycling symbol (triangle formed by 3 circling arrows) with a code inside it.
These codes tell us what packaging we can recycle, and what should go into the garbage bin.
Put plastic products in your recycling bins if they have a 1,2,3,4 or 5 code inside the recycling symbol.
♳ 1 – PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate
Bottles like water, soft drink, detergent and condiment bottles. They are a clear, tough, solvent resistant plastic. It can be recycled through your recycling bin.
♴ 2 – HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene
Bottles like milk, juice, shampoo and cleaning product bottles as well as containers. You can find HDPE in both rigid or hard and soft plastic forms. Only rigid or hard plastic items can be recycled through your recycling bin.
HDPE in soft plastic form include items such as lightweight shopping grocery bags, freezer bags and other plastic food packaging. These soft plastics cannot be recycled through your recycling bin. Put them in your garbage bin or drop them in the soft plastic recycling bins at supermarkets.
♵ 3 – PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride
Items like plumbing pipes, clear cordial and juice bottles, furniture and packaging. You can find PVC in both rigid or hard and soft plastic forms. Only rigid or hard plastic items can be recycled through your recycling bin.
♶ 4 – LDPE or Low-Density Polyethylene
LDPE is thinner than 2 HDPE but often used for similar purpose. Rigid or hard LDPE items with code 4 printed on them can be recycled through your recycling bin.
LDPE in soft plastic forms cannot be recycled through your recycling bin but can be recycled through soft plastic bins at supermarkets.
♷ 5 – PP or Polypropylene
This includes ice cream containers and lids, yoghurt containers, butter and margarine containers, and plastic takeaway containers. They can be recycled through your recycling bin.
♸ 6 – PS or Polystyrene
This includes foam cups, food trays, containers and meat trays. These products are also widely known as styrofoam and polystyrene. Styrofoam is very light and breaks up into small pieces and contaminates recyclable materials. It cannot be recycled through your recycling bin.
♹ 7 – Other
Items such as baby milk bottles, CDs and DVDs, headlight lenses, sunglasses and safety glasses. These items are made with a mixture of plastic types. They cannot be recycled via your recycling bin.
Tip: Instead of recycling, reuse. Choose reusable containers, coffee cups, water bottles, and shopping bags to avoid single-use plastic as much as you can.