There is a misconception that recyclable and recycled are one and the same thing. In fact, they are 2 very different terms.
- Recycled items are products that have been made either in part or fully – from other products/materials that have gone to waste.
- Recyclable items are those that are made from materials that have the potential to then be used again once the item has gone to waste.
Not all recycled items are recyclable due to the breakdown of the strength of material throughout the process. For instance, card can be recycled 5-7 times according to The Environmental Protection Agency.
At Lighthouse Display not only do we operate our own and very effective Closed Loop recycling programme with our current recycling rate at over 81% of our total waste. We also ensure that on every product we supply – we annotate what recycling stream the product belongs to – this is where the power of the mobius loop comes into play.
What is a ‘Mobius Loop?’
Leading up to the first ever ‘Earth Day’ in 1970, a competition was launched. It was felt that a standardised international symbol was required to help the world understand what materials were being used and to aid the increase in recycling. A university graduate called Gary Anderson was the winner and the rest is history.
The Mobius loop simply indicates through the use of a small graphic, the material type and its identifying number. Therefore, making its waste journey identifiable – it’s also important to note that it does not always mean that an item can or even will be recycled.
To those that do their best to recycle at home, always check what can and cannot be recycled in your local area – not all plastics put in the recycle bin will get recycled.
What does it look like?
It is a small triangle made from three arrows, that flow end-to-end (creating the loop). It will normally contain a number in its centre and letters/wording underneath. Here are some examples:
Why is it so powerful?
Effective recyclability depends not just on the material in question but also on whether there is infrastructure in place to collect, sort and recycle that material. A correctly displayed Mobius Loop communicates that information in a glance meaning, the end user of a product can make the correct decisions to ensure that maximum recyclability is achieved. By ensuring that the right materials are going to the right places, that’s how differences are made.
Where will I see a Mobius Loop?
In general, you should see the loop on all plastic, card and paper products. All of our un-printed strips and products are embossed with the relevant Mobius Loop and we encourage all our clients to include the correct Mobius loop within their artwork to ensure maximum visibility.
As the final user of our products will always be the retailers themselves, it’s imperative for us that we are clear about the recyclability of our products and which streams they enter.
By following this protocol not only are we being responsible for our own waste, we are also letting those know further down the chain, exactly what materials have been used and how to recycle them.