How Designing 'Badges of Honor' Can Reward Businesses for Reducing Organic Waste How Designing 'Badges of Honor' Can Reward Businesses for Reducing Organic Waste

How Designing 'Badges of Honor' Can Reward Businesses for Reducing Organic Waste

by The Noun Project

March 17, 2013

Did you know that food scraps and food-soiled paper make up a quarter of our garbage? They also create methane—a potent greenhouse gas—when landfilled. Every day countless businesses across the country are choosing to make the extra effort to minimize the impact their operations have on our environment.  One of the areas in which a lot of progress is currently being made is in organics recycling. Organics recycling includes both traditional composting, as well as innovative programs such as “Food-to-People,” in which edible food is donated to people in need, and “Food-to-Livestock,” in which organic waste is sent to local farmers for hog-feed.  

Recycling these organics reduces garbage in our landfills, creates valuable resources, and provides economic development opportunities.

 The Noun Project wants to make it easier for anyone to know which restaurants and businesses go that extra mile to make our world better.  We believe if people know which restaurants donate their food scraps to a local shelter, or what businesses recycle their organics by participating in a local composting program, customers will choose those businesses over others. Giving a competitive advantage to the companies doing good deeds will encourage others to participate, in this case by cutting down their waste.

When the recycling movement began in the early 1970s, a 23-year-old college student Gary Anderson created the now universally-recognized recycling symbol that has since had a tremendous effect on our environment. The Noun Project is hosting an Iconathon design workshop that will engage the design community and civic activists in creating new “badges of honor” to encourage more recycling programs around the world. The badges will be similar in nature to the Yelp or Zagat rating stickers that can be seen on restaurants around the country. Businesses will be able to acquire the badges by participating in local organics recycling programs, and display them on storefronts across the city, as well as on websites and apps, to let people know that their business cares about its community and the environment and deserves their support.

To make the biggest impact, we’ve teamed up with Minneapolis’ Hennepin County Environmental Services, which has been at the forefront of the organics recycling movement.  They have assisted 150 businesses in their county, including Target, MSP Airport and IKEA, as well as numerous schools and colleges, to participate in organics recycling. The icons created during the Iconathon will be released into the public domain. We hope to encourage other cities and counties to participate in similar recycling programs.

The Iconathon will be held on Sunday, March 24th as part of University of Minnesota College of Design’s Public Interest Design Week. We encourage both creatives and non-designers to participate—no art skills are needed. Please RSVP for free tickets.
Image courtesy of The Noun Project
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How Designing 'Badges of Honor' Can Reward Businesses for Reducing Organic Waste