Recycle Logo

Tags: Germany | raw materials | recycling

Recycle is a symbol that stands for recycling, which became an important part of the life of people who care about the environment. Conventionally, we can say that a product or packaging bearing this mark is made from recycled material or is suitable for recycling. Sometimes, manufacturers also specify what percentage of recycled material is included in this product. In addition, a similar symbol was created with a number in the center specifying the time of material the product is made out of. There is no control over the use of this symbol, and, therefore, anyone can put it on their product.

Meaning and History

In 1858, the German mathematicians August Möbius and Johann Listing, independently of each other, discovered the Möbius band. It is clear that it was the discovery of Möbius that received great fame because it bears his last name. This property of the band – its endless flow from one side to the other – inspired 23-year-old American student Gary Anderson to create the Recycling sign. The modern ISO 7000-1135 recycling symbol was created during a competition in 1970. The competition for the creation of a public sign was announced and held by the Container Corporation of America for the first day of the Earth, the jury considered about 500 entries and the version drawn by Anderson won.

What is Recycle?
Recycle or reuse sign is an international sign of recycling. If you see this sign on a product, it means that the product is made from raw materials obtained by recycling or from material that can be recycled. This sign can be seen on plastic, paper, metal, and even fabric.

1970 – Today

Recycle Logo

Anderson’s sign is three arrows assembled into a Mobius strip, a smooth transition at the corners of the triangle hints at industrial production (paper passes through the shafts).  The most common association of the three arrows in the form of a triangle flow is the infinity and cyclical possibilities of recycling: creation → usage → disposal. Now, it is probably the most famous symbol of sustainability and concern for the environment.

One of the first versions, found in Anderson’s student letter to his mother, has the inscription Recycling at the base of the arrow. According to the creator, the sign was supposed to stand on a corner. As it was used by the public, the sign was turned 180 degrees. There are many different variations of the symbol, and a common alternative is a version in which the ribbon is twisted twice. Since the sign is not a trademark, the symbolic stem is used as the basis for many similar symbols around the world.

Font and Color

Recycle Emblem

The original and recognizable design is adorned with green arrows. Green is instantly associated with the environment and the human attempt to take care of it. Despite this, ever since the Recycle symbol was first conceived, it has been done in white with black outlines, black, or green with black outlines. There are typically no inscriptions that accompany the symbol as it became a well-recognized sign that does not require any explanation.