Recycling Plastics: Explained

A recent survey from YouGov concluded that 60% of people are unsure how to recycle. Furthermore, 69% of people who did recycle admitted that they do not recycle enough.

This blog aims to educate you on the different recycling categories and enable you to recycle in a more conscious manner.

The Seven Most Commonly Used Plastics

The numbers within the the three looped arrows are referred to as ‘plastic resin codes’. These are found on plastic packaging and can help to quickly identify the type of plastic you are dealing with.

The most common types of plastic are:

(PET) – used in water bottles and plastic trays

(HDPE) – used for milk cartons and shampoo bottles

(LDPE) – plastic carrier bags and bin liners.

                                                                                                                                                  (PP) – margarine tubs and                                                                                                                                                                     ready-meal tray

All of the above plastics have the highest consumer demand and as such they are the are the most accessible to recycle.  However, there is still a wide range of products such as takeaway boxes, cups and some kinds of food packaging are not easily recyclable, and as such the majority end up in landfill.

Plastic bags such as some crisp and salad bags are not recyclable at all. Their airtight structure is rigidly formed by multiple layers of polymers which are almost impossible to breakdown in the recycling process.


It can be difficult to understand whether the plastic in front of you can be recycled. The list below show some of the most common packaging symbols and what they mean.

If you receive plastic packaging that uses one of the symbols that are not widely recyclable visit On this website you can find out how to recycle a specific item in your area; where the nearest recycling locations are to you; and what recycling can be put in your domestic bins.

This resource is invaluable if you are a household who are consciously trying to improve your environmental impact.


At Southgate we strongly encourage everyone to recycle responsible and try to use the most sustainable materials possible.

Speak to a member of our team today on 01553 692969 or email

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