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General Data > Polymers

The chart below shows the types of plastics (polymers) that can be recycled and the symbols which identify them. Some schools have a recycling policy whilst others at the moment do not. Either way, recycling and identifying polymer types is sometimes incorporated into lessons involving plastics and hydrocarbons.

This chart may also be of help if you are looking for a sample of a certain polymer.

Polymer Typical Bottle types Code/symbol Polymer name
Clear PET Mineral water, fizzy drinks, squash bottles, cooking oil 1 Polyethylene terephthalate (polyester)
Coloured PET Most coloured fizzy drinks bottles 1 Polyethylene terephthalate (polyester)
Natural HDPE Milk bottles, clear fruit juice 2 High Density Polythene
Coloured HDPE Detergents, fabric conditioners bleach, hair care, shower gels 2 High Density Polythene
Mixed HDPE A mixture of HDPE coloured and HDPE natural 2 High Density Polythene
PVC Some bubble baths and shower gels 3 Polyvinyl chloride
Mixed Bottles Brown PET and bottles made from mixed polymers No specific symbol  


In addition to these polymers, other plastic containers may have the following symbols:

Fig 1: Polymer Symbols
Fig 1:
Polymer Symbols