The Mobius Loop Vs. Recycling Bins

The Mobius Loop Vs. Recycling Bins

The Mobius Loop, the “chasing arrows” sign, or if you prefer, the tiny recycling symbol often found on containers and packaging, is perhaps one of the most misleading and disorienting symbols in the international recycling effort. Prior to becoming a symbol for recycling programs, the Mobius Loop was just a regular, old mathematical property symbolic of the concept of orientability. Its significance was altered however when adopted into worldwide recycling programs. This revamp brought new meaning to the Mobius Loop and is now symbolic of the “circle of life” of plastic.

Although many assume that the role of the Mobius Loop is to determine if a product is recyclable, they are often quite wrong; the symbol actually has many raisons d’êtres. Recycle Now, the national recycling campaign for England, estimates “that an average of 35.8 million plastic bottles are used EVERY DAY in the UK, but only 19.89 million are recycled each day.” These figures are indicative that there may be an issue in understanding what should be going into recycling bins and this could be why so many plastics are being diverted from recycling programs. Let’s have a look at how you can decrypt the meaning of the Mobius Loop on your packaging.

A Nod to Local Recycling Programs

At the bottom of your packaging, check to see if there is a recycling triangle and if there is a number in the middle of that symbol. These numbers are one of the most common uses for the Mobius Loop and they indicate to patrons what type of plastic their item is made from and whether their local recycling program accepts that type of plastic. Always be mindful of this. If you toss an item that your local recycling program does not accept, you’ve potentially ruined a whole recycling batch. One bad apple can ruin all the rest. Recycle Now is trying to make the identification process easier and now has a tool to help users figure out what plastics should go in their recycling bins. You can find that tool here.

Fabricated from Recycled Materials

Another reasoning for the presence of the Mobius Loop is to not indicate if an item is recyclable, but to specify if the packaging itself is made from recycled materials, and if so, how much of that packaging is made from recycled sources. Talk about confusing. If your item has the little Mobius Loop at the bottom of it with a percentage in the middle of the symbol, this figure is indicative that the packaging contains x% of recycled material. – but is not necessarily recyclable. If in doubt, you can also use the Recycle Now tool to help you figure out what packaging is okay to place in your recycling bins.

If you are still uncertain regarding which plastics you should be throwing into your recycling bins, please do not hesitate to contact your local landfill for further help rather than simply tossing packaging into the trash can. Together we can all help minimize the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills!

If you’re not equipped with the right waste and recycling supplies, we’ve got you covered at Alpha Waste. With an extensive array of products, we provide our customers with quality recycling solutions that are cost-effective and make segregating waste a breeze.

Call us today at 01634 838 540