Unless you have allergies, you may not pay much attention the labels on the products you buy.
When you take a closer look, there are tons of symbols on product packaging that most of us never see or pay attention to. They all mean something different, but it's hard to know exactly what unless it's explained on the packaging itself. Here's what some common symbols mean and how you can use them to meet your needs.
1. The OU symbol, represented by a U inside a circle, means a product is kosher and has high manufacturing quality and practices.
Products can also be found with a D, M, or F next to the OU symbol, indicating the product contains dairy, meat, or fish. This can be incredibly helpful for those who keep kosher or have allergies.
2. The Product After Opening (PAO) symbol can be found on cosmetics, and the period of time the product will last after breaking its seal is represented in months inside or next to the jar.
3. The USDA Organic seal indicates that at least 95 percent of the ingredients in a product are certified organic.
4. A product with this symbol is made out of recyclable aluminum.
5. To find goods not tested on animals, look for the leaping bunny logo.
6. Often found on cosmetics, this symbol means you should refer to an insert or card that came with the product because not all of the important instructions could fit on the packaging.
7. The Mobius loop means that the packaging is able to be recycled.
There's more complexity to the image than you may think, however. If the symbol is inside a circle, the packaging was made from recycled material. If there's a number inside, pay attention. These may need to be sorted into separate recycling piles.
8. The green dot is used in Europe and it indicates that the company manages their packaging and waste in an eco-friendly way.
9. Another common cosmetics symbol, this hourglass indicates you should use the item within the time period specified after opening, usually represented next to the symbol in months.