In the seminal work Understanding Comic Books (Yes I'm a big nerd but stick with me, I'm going somewhere with this) the author puts all art and pictures on a scale, with the greatest work of art, The Mona Lisa at one end to the symbol for ladies toilets at the other end.

The Mona Lisa's smile may captivate at one end of the scale, but who is she? Why is she smiling? Beautiful though she is there is something she cannot do, and that is to provide you with any information at all. The little matchstick figure of a lady on the toilet door, plain and simple as she is, does exactly that.

Unfortunately in our modern world of recycling, there are plenty of symbols, for this, that and the other, which unfortunately are not always completely clear as to what they mean. So here is a quick guide to what all those different symbols on the side of packaging actually mean?

The Mobius Loop

The Mobius Loop is probably the most famous recycling symbol, gracing everything from bins to drinks bottles. As a symbol, it indicates that the object is capable of being recycled, not that it has been. Occasionally it can be seen with a %, usually done to indicate how much of the packaging uses an already recycled material.

The Tidyman

The Tidyman is put on the packaging that should be disposed of in a bin, This isn't particularly related to recycling but rather as part of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign serves as a reminder not to litter.

The Green Dot

The Green Dot does not mean that the packaging is recyclable, has been recycled or will be recycled in the future. The Green Dot is actually a symbol used to indicate that the producer has joined the Green Dot Scheme, a European scheme where businesses make financial contributions towards recycling.

Plastics PET Symbol

Plastics identifies the type of plastic resin used to make the item by the number contained within the Mobius loop. Plastic is beginning to be recyclable more and more, with most homes now able to put more plastic packaging into their recycling bin.

The Tidyman Glass

Glass that can be disposed of in bottle banks or personal household recycling bins. Make sure you wash out the inside first mind.

Aluminium Recycle Symbol

Aluminium that can be recycled at a local recycling point or in a household recycling bin.

The Paper symbol

The Paper symbol is only awarded by the National Association of Paper Merchants to paper or board that has a minimum of 50%, 75% or is 100% genuine waste paper or board fibre.

Recycling Symbols page compiled by ©Flyte so Fancy Ltd.