Are you still recycling 'by the numbers'? You need to stop. Everything you know about plastics recovery is wrong.
To start off, this is not an indication of recyclability. Nor are any of these:
In fact, just to be clear, these emblems are not indicative of:RecyclabilityRecycled contentCompatibility with other products of the same numberSustainable Greeny GoodnessWhat they are
In the 1980s, the American plastics industry was feeling a squeeze. Environmentalists were concerned over the abandonment of refillable glass and metal vessels by an increased use of disposable, litter-ready plastic bottles. Scrap businesses were finding it hard to sort look-alike plastics, and state legislatures were pushing for a national, codified system to help recyclers identify all of these plastic bottles.
As a result of these pressures, in 1988 the Society of the Plastics Industry (an American trade association) introduced the Resin Identification Codes (RICs), pictured below. This was a once-in-a-generation, sector-wide initiative, intended to address the concerns of environmentalists, industrialists and state governments seeking a way to tame and organize the matter of plastics recovery. Placed on the bottom of plastic bottles, markings depicting numbers inside a triangle of chasing arrows identified the six most commonly used plastics (also known as resins), with a seventh class as a catchall for everything else.