There are several ways of interpreting a recycle symbol according to two separate categories: on the one hand there are the symbols that mark a product as recyclable and on the other those that inform the consumers they are purchasing a recycled item. The recycle symbol is used according to the guidelines and the regulations issued by various governmental commissions that are in charge of environmental problems in a certain sector. A recycle symbol for products that can be re-used includes the three chasing arrows on a white background; this clearly indicates to the user that the product can be recycled afterwards. If the same recycle symbol is included on a round-shaped background, then it indicates that the the product was made of recycled materials.
Sometimes, there are percentages or numbers that accompany a recycle symbol: they either show how much of the product is manufactured from recycled material or they indicate the code necessary for the ulterior recycling process. Nevertheless, we need to mention that besides the general symbols used, there are other special ones that have suffered modifications or adjustments depending on the nature of the material they refer to. The recycle symbol for glass is different than that identified for chemical reprocessing for instance.
Plastic items, whether containers, bottles or packaging, show a recycle symbol that is directly related to the nature of the plastic used in the manufacturing process. This is known as the resin coding system, included in the arrow sign we have just mentioned, and it was introduced as early as the 1988; usually imprinted on the bottom of the container, the recycle symbol includes the code and sometimes an explanation. Though it clearly indicates that the item is recyclable, the symbol with the code is merely meant for easy identification and rapid processing when the material is collected.
The green color is also internationally identified as a recycle symbol, and it functions as such. We have been using symbols ever since we discovered their importance for a shorter and easier communication, therefore, we should not be surprised that they continue to be part of our lives. Besides the direct practical application of the recycle symbol on packages, it remains an epitome of the efforts that are made worldwide for the diminishing of pollution and preservation of the green areas. We do use the recycle symbol to be practical, to show adherence to a cause or to simply protest against what we are constantly making of this planet!