The Mobius Loop, or the recycling triangle, is known internationally as the universal recycling symbol. In Manitoba, when you see this symbol on your packaging, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s recyclable. Instead, it’s more important to focus on what materials your municipality does and does not accept in the blue bin.
On the bottom of your packaging, you may see a number in the middle of the Mobius Loop. If the packaging is made of plastic, the number is telling you what type of plastic it’s made out of, not that it is accepted in your local recycling program. In Manitoba, most #1-5 and #7 plastic packaging is accepted in your blue bin. Here’s what each of the different numbers mean.
- #1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET): This type of plastic is clear, and is used in food and drink containers. Some examples are pop bottles, salad dressing bottles and peanut butter containers.
- #2 High Density Polyethylene Colour and Clear (HDPE): This is a hard plastic similar to PET, but it is not transparent. Some examples of this plastic can be found in laundry detergent bottles, household cleaner containers and 4L milk jugs.
- #3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): This type of plastic comes in two forms: stiff and flexible. This plastic can be found in cooking oil bottles, bags for bedding, toys, table cloths, and blister packs for medications.
- #4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE): This plastic is soft and flexible. This plastic is used in flexible packaging, such as frozen food bags, bread bags and plastic shopping bags. Plastic film is NOT accepted for recycling in the blue bin, but can be returned to grocery stores for recycling. Find a drop off location near you: http://simplyrecycle.ca/plastic-bags/return-your-plastic-bags-here/
- #5 Polypropylene (PP): This plastic is found in bottle caps, yogurt, cottage cheese and hummus containers, and medicine bottles.
- #6 Polystyrene (PS): This plastic is more commonly known as foam packaging or Styrofoam. In Manitoba, foam packaging is NOT accepted in your blue bin for recycling. However, #6 plastics that do not have a foam texture are accepted in the blue bin for recycling.
- #7 Other: These are other types of miscellaneous plastics that don’t fit into the other categories. This type of plastic can be found in water cooler bottles and baby bottles.
Common items most Manitoba recycling programs don’t accept that may have a Mobius loop are foam packaging, plastic film (plastic bags), aluminum foil and plates and disposable coffee cups. It’s important that you always check with your local municipality to see what is and is not accepted in your residential recycling program. You can also view the recycling guide for your municipality here: http://simplyrecycle.ca/about/what-can-i-recycle/