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SPI Policy on the Resin Identification Code

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association developed a voluntary resin identification coding system in 1988 at the urging of recyclers around the country.  These codes, originally permanently affixed to a plastic container, identified the resin from which the container was produced, thereby facilitating the separation and marketing of the materials following the end of  the container’s intended purpose.  

As adopted by 39 states and recognized internationally, the resin identification code offered a means of identifying resin content of  bottles and containers commonly found in the residential and commercial waste streams by enabling waste handlers, recyclers, and consumers (i.e., commercial, industrial, and residential) to sort the bottles and containers by resin type.  The resin identification code as developed by SPI consisted of the numerals
1 - 7, surrounded by the Mobius loop (the chasing arrows symbol).

To encourage widespread, public use, SPI did not claim any intellectual property rights to the resin identification code.

The resin identification code as developed by SPI is not, and never was intended, to be an indicator of "recyclability".  Similarly, it was never SPI’s intent, that the resin identification codes be used to provide competitive advantage, to offer marketing opportunities for various resin types, or to aid in product deselection.

In 2008, ASTM International (ASTM), with SPI’s agreement, brought the resin identification code into the ASTM standards development process under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D20.95 on Recycled Plastics (part of ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics) and initiated work on a proposed standard.

It is the policy of SPI that any future proposed changes to the resin identification code from its use and designations as outlined above do not require the assent or approval of SPI.  However, to represent the interests of the plastics industry, SPI intends to participate in any process that would change the resin identification code beyond its intended use.  SPI will be a conduit for informing industry as to activities with respect to the resin identification code.

Approved by the SPI Board of Directors, September 17, 2010

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