The Origins of Recycling and the Recycling Symbol

Recycling Bin

Recycling has only been a national program for the past 40 years, but nowadays it seems as commonplace as sliced bread. We’ve all seen the recycling symbol and know what it means, we recognize that the blue plastic bins are for recyclable materials only, and we are familiar with what materials can be grouped together (paper & cardboard, plastics, metals, etc). Many companies now aim to purchase only recycled office supplies in order to make their offices “greener.”

The recycling initiative surfaced in the 1960s, and soon after, the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 by lots of these people…

Hippie giving the Peace Sign

That’s all well and good, but how were they to promote this new-fangled idea of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?” The Cardboard Corporation of America had noticed the growing importance of environmental preservation, and as a means of promoting the idea of recycling, they decided to hold a contest to design what would become the international symbol for “recycle.” A 23 year old man named Gary Dean Anderson was declared the winner, received a college scholarship, and the rest is recycling history.

Boy with Recycling Shirt

The international recycle symbol (as seen on the boy’s shirt above) actually draws its inspiration from M.C. Escher, who is famous for all those mind-bending images. Here’s a few to wrack your brain.

M.C. Escher AntsM.C. Escher - BelvedereM.C. Escher - Waterfall

The concept of recycling is so ingrained into our society that it’s impossible to ignore at this point. But honestly, why wouldn’t you recycle? If you have the choice between throwing that plastic soda bottle in the garbage or a recycling bin, wouldn’t you choose the recycling bin? I’d hope so. It’s quite simple to do a little good to help preserve the planet. And you don’t have to be a tree-huggin’ hippie to do so either.

Hippe with Rainbow Umbrella

Not necessarily you

In all seriousness though, recycling is and will continue to be a part of everyday life for everyone in America, and I don’t see why anyone should resist it. Companies look to make their operations “green,” offer paperless billing, or even run paperless offices in some cases. Modern offices even have office desks and office chairs that have been manufactured with recycled materials. Even office technology has been bitten by the recycling bug. Check out this Asus bamboo laptop made from recycled materials.  Before you know it, the common, drab, grey office will be replaced by a green office.

As always, you can pick up environmentally friendly office supplies here – Shop Green.

What companies do you know that are GREEN? Has your office made the change?

  • Great post, it is extremely important that we all do as much as we can to save this planet and recycle.