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Look for the Recycling Symbol!


Those who are environmentally conscious may recycle on their own each day at their home or office. This is always a great way to help the environment by cutting down on waste as well as the destruction of the environment to create virgin materials. Keeping the environment in mind, some like to purchase items made from recycled materials. Luckily these items are easily identified by the recycling symbol. When shopping in a store, check for the symbol to find recycled items. This is just one more way you can support the environmentally friendly cause of recycling.

In 1970 the first Earth Day was held and a corporation that created and used a large amount of recycled goods based out of Chicago decided to hold a contest for recycling awareness. When looking for recycled goods, it is Gary Anderson that is to thank for making these items so easily identifiable, as it was he who won the contest having designed the now universally recognized recycling symbol. The symbol is comprised of three chasing arrows that are green with a black outline. They are triangularly formed, and represent the unending cycle to recycling. Since the sign was first discovered it has begun to be used throughout the entire world to identify what times have been, or can be recycled.

The use of the symbol on plastic containers can be a bit misleading however, which has always caused some controversy. The symbol on these containers has a number marked in the middle which identifies the type of plastic used. This helps in the recycling process, as different types of plastics can’t effectively be recycled with one another. Many who see this symbol on plastics assume that it means the plastic has been made from recycled goods, so some would like to see the symbol changed to look less like the traditional recycling symbol.

Although Gary Anderson’s design was the first and more universally recognized, others have designed variations and alternatives to the original design. Taiwan has a very interesting version of the recycling symbol. This is a double imagine, which incorporates four chasing arrows that point inward, and use the open space in the image to create four chasing arrows to point outwards. The paper industry uses the infinity symbol in a circle to donate that the paper is recycled and recyclable. The American Paper institute also created and suggested using different recycling symbols to identify different things. One symbol would be used to identify that a material was partially recyclable, one was to identify that a material was fully recyclable, one was to show that the material was made from recycling, and one to show that the material was both made from recycling and still recyclable again. This never became popular however, as the current recycling symbol won over all.

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