To combat the proliferation of consumer waste, environmentalists encouraged everyone to embrace the “3 R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This button entwined that message with the universal recycling symbol, a logo created in 1970 by University of Southern California senior Gary Anderson.
The button is among the more than 1,500 pin-backed environmental buttons that Gerald H. Meral donated to the National Museum of American History. Meral spent his career addressing natural resource concerns for the California state government and California-based non-governmental organizations. He began assembling his button collection in 1970.