For the most part we generally think of recycling as a pretty straight forward enterprise, there’s paper, plastic, glass and if you’re really aggressive in your endeavors then perhaps throw in composting. However, if you’ve ever taken the time to look at all those plastic containers and glass bottles that you toss in the bin then you’ve almost certainly noticed different symbols stamped somewhat discretely on the sides or bottom that have various number codes. As you may have guessed, these do all have different meanings. Plastic in particular has perhaps the greatest variation which serve to inform, more or less, what chemicals are in the plastic. Not all plastics are recyclable and not all plastics are eco-friendly (actually, just about all plastics are “earth not friendly” but that’s another story for another post.
While we would love to do an in-depth analysis and description of all the various recycling symbols and codes here, honestly there are much better online resources that you can scour – the wikipedia entry for recycling codes is actually very accurate and probably the best source. Mother Nature Network also did one that is a little more reader friendly, try those to start and then if you have any further questions, google away your curiosity.