Challenge by Earth911
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Earth911 Challenge: Design the Universal Reuse Symbol

Design the Universal Reuse Symbol

The recycling symbol is used worldwide, but there’s no emblem for the act of reuse. We challenge you to design a universal reuse symbol.

Check back soon,
voting to begin shortly
111 submissions
Check them out

The Specifics

Earth911 hosts the nation’s largest, most accurate recycling directory, but we’re the first to admit that recycling is only one solution to the daily problem of waste. In many ways, waste reduction and reuse are just as importation as recycling.

In 1969, a recycled paperboard company issued a challenge to art and design students across the U.S. to raise awareness of environmental issues. Gary Anderson, a college student at the University of Southern California, created the icon now known as the universal recycling symbol.

Today, the recycling symbol is universally used and internationally recognized. In this spirit, Earth911 challenges students, organizations, design firms and everyday consumers to think outside the chasing-arrows and design a universal reuse symbol to help spread the word about the importance of reuse and waste reduction. Much like the recycling symbol is used on products and bins, this universal reuse symbol can be utilized by anyone looking to encourage or inform reuse possibilities for products and materials.

Submit a design from July 18 to August 22 (noon Pacific Time). The Earth911 design team will select designs that will pass to the voting round. From August 23 to September 6 (noon Pacific Time), we’ll open it up to public voting. Rally your colleagues and friends to get behind your effort and join the public in selecting the winner.

Connect with this challenge on Twitter at @GOODmkr and @Earth911 and join the conversation via #ReuseSymbol.

Submission tips:

  • Symbols should be in JPG, PNG, or GIF format, at least 570 × 345 pixels and no larger than 10MB.
  • Submit your symbol along with a brief description of your design.
  • The symbol must be able to be printed both in black & white and color.
  • The symbol must be universal, and therefore cannot include any text.
  • If you have any questions, please review these FAQs or send us an email at

Rules & Regulations

  • This Challenge is open for submissions from July 18 to August 22 (noon Pacific Time). Only US-based organizations and individuals are eligible to apply. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
  • All submissions may be used by GOOD and/or Earth911 for both editorial and promotional purposes.
  • The winning symbol will become public domain and considered fair-use for universal implementation without trademark or attribution.
  • Winner will need to send the master art files upon challenge completion.
  • Earth911 reserves the right for final approval of such symbol and may make alterations to the winning symbol, if seen fit.
  • Projects will be featured on this page and public voting will be open from August 23 to September 6 (noon Pacific Time).
  • The project with the most votes will receive a prize of $500.
  • In order to vote, log in with your GOOD account. If you don’t have a GOOD account, it’s free to join. All you need is an email address or a Facebook account to register. You will be emailed a link that you need to click in order to validate your address.
  • Read all the rules.

23 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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I've noticed that there are several designs that look alike, and look like other recognizable symbols at that. Will this be taken into account?

by Emmi-Kat
over 3 years ago | Reply

This design is just right, as someone said previously. Easily recognizable, and if you haven't seen it before you would be able to figure it our. Good job! And thanks.

by blbarto53
over 3 years ago | Reply

Why is Earth911 already promoting one specific submission, when the voting just began? It's a little early to be swaying voters by publishing their "favorite" on their own wall. The rest of the designers might as well bow out now and remove their submission. This seems highly unethical.

by lucyalfriend.thacker
over 3 years ago | Reply

I agree

by boywonder
over 3 years ago | Reply

your sizing was just too hard to do for me
i had too bg than too small

by christiebaker124
over 3 years ago | Reply

Looking forward for some international competitions... it would of been great to be able to submit for this one!!

by J-L
over 3 years ago | Reply

i dont see my idea.

by cotsdi
over 3 years ago | Reply

Did you know the winner of the recycling symbol in 1969 won $2,500 = to about $12,250 today!

by PlanItTide
over 3 years ago | Reply

can I submit more than 1 idea?

by mkmosehauer
over 3 years ago | Reply

Hi MK, thanks for your interest in this challenge! Only one submission per person is allowed. Email us at if you have any other questions!

by Anna_Silverman
over 3 years ago | Reply

PS there was a paragraph break between 'around themselves' and 'my sister' that was automatically omitted !

by mr meow
over 3 years ago | Reply

perhaps just a circle made up of two arrows - like the recycle symbol arrows directing around themselves
my sister throws teabags out after only one tea !!! YOU CAN MAKE TWO WITH THAT

by mr meow
over 3 years ago | Reply

Well, americans know better what is GOOD for us ( the rest of the world) ! Can you imagine Africans designing a universal reuse symobol? They can't even read LOL!

by jeanlouis
over 3 years ago | Reply

that is so rude!!!!!!!

by treblemakeririshdance
over 3 years ago | Reply

yes that's shallow

by mr meow
over 3 years ago | Reply

I had trouble uploading my idea. Is anyone else having a hard time with this uploader?

by patriciaguy07
over 3 years ago | Reply

Hi Patricia, sorry to hear you're having trouble submitting your design, email us at so we can help you out. Thanks!

by moderators
over 3 years ago | Reply

Remember, 'universal' is what we're going for. Universal, but American. It MUST be American.

by grgjsp
over 3 years ago | Reply

It is extraordinary that you think it is GOOD to exclude billions of people on the planet and only allow Americans to design and choose an International symbol. It's kind of outrageous if you are not an American. Not a good idea.

by PalmTree
over 3 years ago | Reply

A comment from Japan: If this reuse symbol has the potential to be used internationally or rather they would like to promote the use internationally, why is this competition limiting the designers to only those in the United States? If the design will only be used in the US, I can understand such limitations.

by ssuzuki
over 3 years ago | Reply

Hi SSuzuki, thank you for interest in this challenge! The challenges that run on GOOD Maker are limited to US residents and US based organizations, though we hope to offer international opportunities in the future. Send us an email at if you have any questions!

by moderators
over 3 years ago | Reply

Hello moderators, SSuzuki asked 'Why' it's US only and you're just answering that it's US only. Such a policy is not GOOD-worthy.

by Dutchie
over 3 years ago | Reply

that's because it was answered by a computer IMHO.

by terre
over 3 years ago

Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-submission-inactive

Submission Began
Wednesday, July 18

Submission Ended
Wednesday, August 22
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2 Step2-title-voting
We're hard at work reviewing your
entries before voting begins

Voting Began
Thursday, August 23

Voting Ended
Thursday, September 06
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title
reuse symbol
reuse symbol

Winner Announced
Monday, September 10

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