It’s been 41 years since then college student, Gary Anderson, designed the first and still widely used recycling logo, three arrows signaling "recyclable," "made with recycled material," or "recycle here."
Anderson won $2,500 from the now defunct Container Corporation of America, which sponsored the contest. Anderson saw his logo for the first time on recycling bins in Amsterdam in the late 1970s. "It really kind of bowled me over," he recently commented. "It's just astounding to me that it really has become iconic."
Now it's Anderson who's doing the judging, as one of the jurors in another eco-logo contest: "Make your Mark," the search for a logo to identify products made from bio-plastics.
The sponsor is a leader in biodegradable and compostable plastics made from natural materials (not petroleum) — Cereplast, whose mission is to be the global leader in manufacturing “bioplastics,” made from renewable resources like corn, potatoes, wheat, tapioca, sugar and algae.
The bioplastic resin Cereplast makes is in use by millions of people daily, found in disposable cutlery, pens, straws and yogurt containers as Nicole Cardi, Cereplast’s VP marketing and communications, highlights in the video below.
Cereplast hosted a national design competition which received 1,500 plus entries and 4.5 million public votes, choosing the top 200 designs. The winner, who received $25,000 for her logo, at right: Laura Howard, who — like Anderson — came up with her design as a college student (graphic design) at the University of Louisville.
The company is in the process of trademark registration of the new symbol, which becomes available in November, and is hosting an online forum for the public and the bioplastics industry to discuss use and licensing guidelines through August 12th.
Trademark ensures proper use of the symbol and a consistent set of standards. “Part of the success of the recycling symbol is that it’s been in the public domain since the 1970s, but [because the symbol is in the public domain] it has sometimes been used incorrectly or in a misleading manner,” said Cardi.
Cereplast is banking on social media to help proliferation of the new symbol more quickly than the several decades it took for the first recycling symbol to become widespread, and to help consumers identify bioplastic products, defined as compostable within 180 days, made from bio-based materials or both.
“Compostable bioplastics are good for disposable single-use products like forks and knives, but durability is good for other products. You don’t want to use a compostable bioplastic for the sunglasses that will be sitting on your car dashboard in the heat or for parts in the interior of your car,” explains Cardi.
It’s a good day for Mother Nature and kudos to Cereplast for supporting an iterative logo in the evolution of greening.
Cereplast on CNN Headline News from Cereplast on Vimeo.