Plastic Resin Codes
The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI) introduced
its plastic resin identification coding system in 1988.
The SPI code was developed to meet recyclers’ needs while
providing manufacturers a consistent, uniform system that could
apply nationwide. Because municipal recycling programs traditionally
target packaging - primarily containers - the SPI coding
system offers a means of identifying the resin content of bottles
and containers commonly found in the residential waste stream.
A recyclable plastic container using
this scheme is marked with a triangle of three "chasing arrows",
which encloses a number giving the plastic type:
1. PET (PETE): Polyethylene Terephthalate - Commonly found on: 2-liter
soft drink bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars.
2. HDPE: High Density Polyethylene - Commonly found on: detergent bottles,
3. PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride - Commonly found on: plastic pipes, outdoor furniture,
shrink-wrap, water bottles, salad dressing and liquid detergent containers.
4. LDPE: Low Density Polyethylene - Commonly found on: dry-cleaning bags, produce
bags, trash can liners, food storage containers.
5. PP: Polypropylene - Commonly found on: bottle caps, drinking straws
6. PS: Polystyrene - Commonly found on: "Styrofoam peanuts," cups,
plastic tableware, meat trays, take-away food clamshell containers
7. OTHER: Other - This plastic category, as its name of "other" implies,
is any plastic other than the named #1 – #6, Commonly found on: certain
kinds of food containers, Tupperware, and Nalgene bottles.
Click here for
more detailed information, including the "chasing arrows" graphic.