According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, almost 35 million tons of plastics were generated in the country in 2015, which adds up to about 13 percent of the waste stream. Unfortunately, only 9.1 percent of plastics were recycled in 2015. Some types of plastics are recycled much more than others. Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. Look for products made from recycled plastic materials.

The chart below is provided on the U.S EPA website, and provides information that will help you decode common plastic items.

What do the symbols mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? These symbols were created by plastic manufacturers to help people identify the kind of plastic resin used to make the container. This can help you determine if the container can be accepted by your local recycling program. The resin number is contained in a triangle, which looks very similar to the recycling symbol, but this does not necessarily mean it can be collected for recycling in your community.

SPI Resin Identification Code 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Type of Resin Content PET HDPE Vinyl LDPE PP PS OTHER
  • PET – Polyethylene Terephthalate
  • HDPE – High-density Polyethylene
  • LDPE – Low-density Polyethylene
  • PP – Polypropylene
  • PS – Polystyrene
  • Other – Mixed Plastics
In addition, the following video should help with your recycling efforts at home: