Everyone recognizes those three rotating arrows on the sides of their Mountain Dew and shampoo bottles, right? But, does anyone know the history of the recycling symbol?
In 1970, while enrolled at the University of California, 23-year-old Gary Anderson entered his original drawing into the nationwide contest, “For The Love of Earth,” at the International Design Conference. The contest was established as the result of the sudden overall interest in conservationism throughout the world.
German mathematician and astronomer, August Ferdinand Möbius, discovered the Möbius strip in 1858, and was inspiration for Anderson in designing the recycling symbol.
See the similarities?
Möbius discovered that if you took and twisted a strip of paper once over, and then joined the tips, a loop appeared. It would stay in its shape if the ends were connected, but only by an odd number of paper strips – hence three.
Try thinking of this in creative way. Each of the three arrows can represent one step in the three-step process of recycling.
The first step can take place when recyclable materials are taken to a local recycling center to reduce the amount of waste in the world.
The second arrow can signify when people reuse objects like water bottles and printer cartridges.
The third and final step can be the literal action, recycle. This translates the popular phrase, reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Did you know that the recycling symbol isn’t trademarked? That is why you may see different versions of it around you.
Gary Anderson’s design of the recycling symbol is not only used to promote a worldwide process, but is as universally recognizable as the Starbucks, Chevy, and McDonalds symbols.
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Möbius Strip photo courtesy of:
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