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

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.

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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Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

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Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

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"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

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Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

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People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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