A new campaign wants to redesign the Green Dot, a symbol mistaken to mean recyclable

Partnering with The Brand Identity, Two Degrees Creative takes on the misleading packaging symbol with an open brief.

Date
17 December 2021

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Have you ever looked at a piece of packaging, spotted a circular green logo with two arrows chasing in a cycle, and put it in the recycling bin? Chances are, it wasn’t recyclable. Two Degrees Creative, a collaborative climate change platform, seeks to clear up the confusion by changing the Green Dot for good. In partnership with design resource The Brand Identity, the platform has launched The Green Dot, a campaign and open brief to redesign the symbol.

Despite its visual motifs appearing nearly identical to the universal symbol for recycling – primarily through its use of arrows, a cycle, and the colour green – the Green Dot was brought into circulation 20 years after the latter, in 1990. Rather than meaning a product is recyclable or even recycled, it merely indicates that a brand has joined The Green Dot Scheme, requiring financial contribution towards recycling causes.

Currently, the Green Dot symbol is placed on over 400 billion packages every year and used by over 130,000 brands worldwide. (Understandable) confusion over its meaning has led to huge quantities of recycling contamination, “which devalues post-consumer materials and is a major block in the journey to a circular economy,” Two Degrees Creative founder Ryan McGill explains to It’s Nice That.

Two Degrees Creative and The Brand Identity: The Green Dot, animation by Superfield (Copyright © Two Degrees Creative, 2021)

Two Degrees Creative challenges designers to remake the Green Dot “without using arrows or a cycle,” picking up from its first open brief, Recycle(d), which invited designers to reinterpret the recycling symbol. The design also has to “stand out from the already populated label spaces, without confusing consumers.” A campaign video animated by Superfield and a petition calling for the symbol’s redesign have been released to coincide with the launch.

So far, the growing list of submissions to The Green Dot brief stands at around 40, including agencies and designers such as DIA, Duane Dalton, Mash Creative, Miltos Bottis, Goods Oslo and Scandinavian Design Group.

Highlighting the variety in the design responses, Ryan McGill says: “There has been a large range of approaches, such as a visual language from Goods in Oslo, a sustainable packaging and design studio – depicting how much recycled material is being used. NEW STANDARD.STUDIO in Berlin took a QR code-based approach, giving the symbol an interactive element and making it a useful tool for consumers.” Elsewhere, “the very funny and talented Cristian Tudor Iacob made a meme with his design, poking fun at the absolute absurdity of being able to pay for a shiny greenwashing symbol.”

GalleryTwo Degrees Creative and The Brand Identity: The Green Dot

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(Copyright © Goods Oslo, 2021)

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(Copyright © Goods Oslo, 2021)

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(Copyright © Goods Oslo, 2021)

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(Copyright © Cristian Tudor Iacob, 2021)

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(Copyright © Miltos Bottis, 2021)

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(Copyright © New Standard.Studio, 2021)

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(Copyright © New Standard.Studio, 2021)

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(Copyright © Scandinavian Design Group, 2021)

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(Copyright © Duane Dalton, 2021)

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(Copyright © Duane Dalton, 2021)

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(Copyright © Duane Dalton, 2021)

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(Copyright © With You Studio, 2021)

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(Copyright © With You Studio, 2021)

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(Copyright © With You Studio, 2021)

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(Copyright © Mark Bloom, Mash Creative, 2021)

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(Copyright © Brian Rutherford, 2021)

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(Copyright © Brian Rutherford, 2021)

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(Copyright © Brian Rutherford, 2021)

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Two Degrees Creative and The Brand Identity: The Green Dot (Copyright © Two Degrees Creative, 2021)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.

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