Recycle Logo

Recycle LogoRecycle Logo PNG

The internationally recognized symbol of nature protection, the recycle logo is in the public domain. It was created by a 23-year-old student for a design contest.

Meaning and history

Logo Recycle

Environmental concerns were on the rise in 1970. One of the results of this was the first Earth Day, which took place in April that year. Inspired by this event, Container Corporation of America, a Chicago-based producer of recycled paperboard, held a logo design contest.

The task was to make a logotype for then revolutionary recycled paperboard boxes. The winner, a 23-year-old college student Gary Anderson, was not even a graphic designer. He was studying engineering at the University of Southern California. Later, in an interview Anderson admitted that it took him not more than a couple of days to design the logo, for which he received around $2,000. He did not create it from scratch: he used the arrows and arcs from a presentation he had made earlier.

It was only many years later that Anderson realized the significance of his work. He was on a trip to Amsterdam when he saw a huge recycling logo on a bin. It was only then that he understood he had created something that would stand the test of time.


Symbol Recycle

The recycling symbol consists of three twisted arrows forming a triangle shape. The design forms a so-called twisted Möbius band. Typically, it has a black outline and green fill.

Alternative recycling emblems

emblems Recycle

The emblem is not a trademark, so it is often tweaked by the companies or organizations using it. It may comprise one half-twist, yet three half-twists are more common. The American Paper Institute suggested 4 versions for different purposes. Also, Unicode mentions not less than 6 additional recycle logos.


Recycle Logo

The standard recycle logo does not include a wordmark. So in case text needs to be added to the logotype, any typeface may be chosen.


Color Recycle Logo

The symbol features probably the most logical color choice for something that is connected with environmental protection. Green has a variety of connotations having to do with nature and Mother Earth.