Origin of the Recycling Symbol

As a result of growing consumer awareness and environmentalism, in 1970 the Container Corporation of America sponsored a nationwide contest for high school and college students. In response to this contest, the original recycling symbol was submitted to the International Design Conference by Gary Anderson. He designed the symbol while he was a senior at the University of Southern California. The three arrows in the symbol represent a three-step process. The first step is when the recyclables are collected curbside or taken to a local collection center. Once collected, the materials are cleaned and sorted and sold to a manufacturing facility. The second arrow represents that manufacturing process. Once the materials are manufactured into new products they are sold for retail or commercial use. Finally, the “loop” is complete when the recycled product is purchased and used.

Remember the three R’s- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!


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