What Do Chasing Arrows Mean?

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This sign: "♻️" does NOT mean something is Recyclable!

You've seen this symbol "♻️" - known as "chasing arrows" - on all sorts of plastic things. You may think it means something is recyclable...or is made from recyclable materials. Unfortunately, it's never that straightforward.

This symbol with a number in the middle tells you what type of resin - or plastic - the item is made out of.

This means it can give you a CLUE as to whether or not it's recyclable. Some numbers - like #1 are often (but not always - we're looking at you clamshell food containers) recyclable. Other numbers, like #6 (eg. styrofoam cups) or #7 (eg. cell phone cases) are very difficult to process and therefore rarely accepted.


1. ASK your transfer station worker or sanitation worker to see if it's recyclable.

2. CHECK your town or city's website - look under "public works" to find information about recycling rules in your town. 

3. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT! You can turn otherwise good recyclables into trash by tossing a non-recyclable item in. If you're not sure if something is recyclable and you can't get an answer through steps 1 and 2, then toss your item in the trash to avoid possibly contaminating a whole bunch of recyclables.

#nrrarecycleright #nrrarecycles

This material is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Rural Utilities Service. Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc., is an equal opportunity provider and employer.