Believe it or not, this symbol “♻️” does NOT mean something is recyclable!
While it has come to universally represent recycling, all it really does is indicate what a package is made from. The arrows with numbers that you find on your bottle and other everyday products are part of the Resin Identification Code (RIC) system that was created by and for the plastics industry in 1988. Each number signifies a different category of plastics – of which there are seven in total – and this system was designed to tell recycling facilities what type of resin can be found in any given object. As it turns out, they were never a guarantee that the item in question would be recycled!
The debate on the use of “chasing arrows” continues as California introduces Senate Bill 343. The bill has substantial implications for how common plastic packaging items are labeled, and it could have significant recycling implications across the nation in the coming years.