Plastics: How to identify recyclable packaging?

Plastics: How to identify recyclable packaging?

October 2015

  • What is the Möbius strip?
  • What does it look like on plastic packaging?
  • Not to be confused with...

What is the Möbius strip?




The percentage shown in the middle means that X% recycled material was used to manufacture the product.

The Möbius strip has been the universal recycling symbol since the early 1970s. It symbolizes an endless cycle of recycling.

When you see the Möbius strip on a product, it means that:

  • it can be recycled because it was manufactured with recyclable materials
  • it was made from recycled materials and can be recycled

However, it doesn't mean that the product will actually be recycled.

The purpose of the Möbius strip is to inform the end users and encourage them to recycle.

The Möbius strip does not provide information about what material the packaging is made of.

What does it look like on plastic packaging?


In plastic packaging, a simplified form of the Möbius strip is used.

In addition to indicating that the packaging is recyclable, the symbol identifies the main material the packaging is made of by a number in the middle of the strip

PET => PET - Polyethylene terephthalate

Bottles and jars for cleaning products and detergents, food, cosmetics and personal care, pharmaceutical and veterinary products.

PEHD => HDPE - High Density Polyethylene

Jars for industrial products, food, human health products, veterinary products, cosmetics

Bottles and jugs for chemicals, cleansers, pharmaceutical and veterinary products, food 

Drums for food, pharmaceuticals, veterinary products, cleansers, chemicals, cosmetics, aromatics

IBC containers for chemicals, cleansers, cosmetics, food

Hazardous material transport pails for chemicals, agro-chemicals, pool chemicals, inks, high value-added products

V  => PVC - Polyvinyl chloride (pipes, ducts)

LDPD => LDPE - Low Density Polyethylene (plastic bags, film wrap)

PP => PP ou PolypropyleneMoebius-PP

Pails for food, veterinary products, chemicals, paints, coatings, adhesives, inks 

Jars, beakers, cups and measuring cups, caps

PS => PS - Polystyrene (Insulation or toys)

other => Other


The conditions for affixing the Möbius strip on products and packaging are defined by the international standard ISO 14021: 2001.


Not to be confused with...

Point-vertThis green symbol is part of the French waste management and treatment policy enacted by two laws (1075 and 1994) setting out the waste treatment requirements in France.

It does not symbolize recycled or recyclable products but indicates that the company contributes financially to a global household packaging waste sorting, collection and recycling system.


Recycled plastic bottles

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