The Recycling Content Symbol

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The internationally recognized U.S. symbol for recycling—three arrows traveling in a triangle—was developed in the 1970s. During this period, many Americans were becoming concerned about the environment, and a producer of paper products—the Container Corporation of America—decided to publicize the fact that its products were manufactured using content that was recycled or recyclable. As part of this promotion, the company sponsored a nationwide art contest for a design that would signify recycling. The winner of the contest and an award of a $2,500 tuition scholarship was a twenty-three-year-old student from the

University of Southern California at Los Angeles, Gary Dean Anderson. Anderson's design was influenced by the Möbius strip—a geometric shape that forms a continuous loop having only one side and one edge. Over the years, several variations of Anderson's design have been developed, and today the most common version is the one used by the U.S. plastics industry to surround the resin identification codes for plastic products. Other countries have developed different recycling symbols; Germany, for example uses a green dot symbol on plastics, and Japan employs a variety of arrow symbols to classify different recyclable materials.

Zinc Recycle Symbol

The U.S. recycling symbol was developed in the 1970s by a twenty-three-year-old student named Gary Dean Anderson.

Soon it will be tires and batteries. Then British Columbia will likely follow Europe's example and require EPR for electronic products.27

Recycling advocates believe that making producers more responsible for recycling will not only dramatically cut down on the amount of trash going into landfills, but also encourage manufacturers to use more organic and easily recyclable materials to make their products in the first place. The response from manufacturers has been mixed: Although some industry critics have complained about this government interference with private business, other industries see economic benefits to conserving resources and reducing disposal costs.

An employee at PCC Natural Market in Seattle bags groceries into a customer's cloth bag. Many environmentalists are in favor of banning plastic bags, and many stores around the country offer reusable bags for sale to discourage the use of plastic bags.

An employee at PCC Natural Market in Seattle bags groceries into a customer's cloth bag. Many environmentalists are in favor of banning plastic bags, and many stores around the country offer reusable bags for sale to discourage the use of plastic bags.

Pcc Market Employees

Ideally, supporters of recycling would like to see a global recycling system, to allow products to be recycled according to a unified system around the world. The beginnings of such a system are already taking root in Europe. Germany has developed a recycling program known as the Green Dot system, in which manufacturers and retailers have to pay for a green "dot" on products. The fees charged for Green Dot increase with the amount of packaging, and monies from this program are used to help recycle the packaging. Consumers are encouraged to buy products that have the Green Dots. According to most reports, this system has led to led to a dramatic decrease in the amount of packaging used, thus creating less garbage to be recycled. Germany claims the result has been a decline of about 1 million tons (907,185 metric tons) less garbage than normal every year.

Since the Green Dot program was first implemented in Germany in 1991, it has been adopted by 22 European Union countries, as well as Norway, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Now used by more than 130,000 companies on 460 billion packages, the Green Dot is the most widely used trademark in the world. For many, it provides hope that the world can begin to control and reduce the seemingly endless stream of waste that humans produce in the form of product packaging. However, packaging is only one of the many challenges involved in modern waste management; perhaps even more significant is the issue of hazardous waste.

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