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"chasing arrows" recycling symbol on plastics -Reply

Last week, Holly Lynch wrote:

>Can someone please tell me whether the "chasing symbol" on plastic
containers (e.g., milk jugs) is a mandatory government requirement -- if so,
state or federal; or a voluntary industry standard.
>Thank you in advance for your assistance on this!
>Holly Lynch
>Director of EHS Programs
>Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits

The plastics industry uses a combination of the chasing arrows and a number to indicate the type of plastic material
used in a package or product.  For example, the number 1 inside the chasing arrows means that the plastic is
polyethylene terephthalate (PET).  This numbering system was developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry.

Currently, the Federal government does not either mandate or regulate the use of this identification symbol. 
Thirty-nine states require that the symbol be used in order to facilitate the separation of plastics from trash for

While the symbol is intended to be a materials identification system, it is often confused with claims that a product is
recyclable.  At this time, the Federal Trade Commission's Environmental Marketing Guidelines permit the use of the
plastics identification symbol without further qualification.  However, FTC is considering whether to provide guidance
for the use of the symbol because of the confusion over its meaning.

Dana Arnold
Municipal Information & Analysis Branch
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, S.W. (5306W)
Washington, DC 20460