San Francisco garbage pickup and recycling company Norcal Waste Systems announced today that it has changed its name to Recology. According to BusinessWire, the name change "is rooted in the company’s 89-year heritage as one of the nation’s first urban recyclers. Recology, with clear roots in words like recycling, renewal, reuse and reduction, signals that the company will be leading the evolution of the industry—eliminating waste from the vocabulary of consumer and industry alike."
And as the logo makes evident, "ecology" is also part of the new identity.
Along with the new name, logo, and web site, Recology has a new slogan (or "rallying cry," as the company calls it): "Waste Zero." The company is making its commitment tangible by moving to a new Gold LEED-certified office (50 California St., San Francisco).
The identity change is more than a facelift. The "Norcal" part of the old name is already obsolete: the company's compost operations are in Oregon, and Andrew Ross reports in the San Francisco Chronicle that the company will be expanding beyond California in other ways.
"Waste" is also obsolete, company president and CEO Mike Sangiacomo told BusinessWire: “Our industry is no longer about waste management." The new name "will help move us away from the mentality of disposal to a mandate to use less of what we have and get more from what we use.”
I give the new name and tagline two thumbs up (with an asterisk). Getting rid of "waste" is a wise idea and a clear signal that humans no longer can afford to keep throwing stuff away and ignoring the consequences. "Waste Zero" (which borrows its syntax from similar formulas such as Patient Zero and Inbox Zero) is direct and modern. And calling it a rallying cry casts the motto in a fresh light that's also appropriately recycled: slogan is the simplified spelling of Scottish-Gaelic sluagh-ghairm, which means "army (or battle) cry."
"Recology" is a clever compendium of timely language; the re- prefix has mostly positive associations right now (with the exception of recession), and -ology (knowledge about, science of) makes the company seem smart and savvy.
So why the asterisk? Just this: there will be an irresistible temptation to turn the name into Reek-ology if garbage ever starts piling up on curbs.
That aside, I want to give special credit to whoever rewrote the web site. The site design is minimal—free of waste, you might say—which puts the text in the spotlight. The content is clear and concise; sentences are short yet not cold, mostly because they're written in the first person plural:
First, the reality. We can’t afford to keep throwing away our future. We don’t have the resources and, thanks to global warming, we no longer have the time.
Now the promise. Every day, both traditional and new technologies are making it easier to stop wasting what we have and make more of what we use. In an easily compostable nutshell, this is both the underlying truth and overarching idea behind the name Recology.
"Easily compostable nutshell" is especially endearing.
Nice logo, too (sorry I couldn't grab a bigger one): the blue-green gradient evokes air, earth, and water, and the sprouting capital R suggests the benefits of recycling.
I haven't been able to find out who did the renaming and redesign. If you know, please share the information in a comment.