The History of and Story Behind the Waste Management Logo

Waste Management

Waste Management is a company with a unique logo that is recognizable. The sanitation giant that started as a small business has grown immensely over the past 60 years. To understand the meaning of the components of the logo, it’s essential to know a little bit about the history of the business, and how the colors and design represent the intentions of Waste Management.

The history of Waste Management

Waste Management was started by Harm Huizenga, a Dutch immigrant in 1893. He worked in Chicago at his small trash collection business, charging low fees to his customers. He used a wagon to collect the trash, and slowly he built the sanitation business into a large company. Through the years, the way that garbage is handled has changed, and Waste Management has evolved to comply. Harm’s grandson Wayne got together with two partners in 1968 to develop plans for a sanitation business that would be more environmentally friendly. Waste Management continued to change applying necessary rules and regulations with unique methods for collecting, handling, and disposal of the various types of waste. By 1982, the business had grown to become the largest sanitation company in the world. The business had gone public in 1982 and reached unicorn status reaching the $1 billion in sales mark. By the year 1990, Waste Management had made 1,000 acquisitions.

The Waste Management logo

Waste Management has had two logos since it officially became a business in 1968. Fandom has provided us with one of the rare examples of the first logo ever created for the company. The 1968 version is the original image used to represent the brand. This was a logo that consisted only of a graphic.

The original was professionally designed for the Waste Management company, but the creators have not been identified. The first logo was introduced in 1968 and remained in use for 30 years until it was replaced in 1998 with a text version. The image was a symbol with an abstract vibe that was enclosed in a circular frame. It had the appearance of the fletchings of an arrow that were pointed in a forward-moving direction to the right. The color of the image was a deep brown. The thick, round ring encircling the image was the same color, all against a white background. There was a line of white that intersected the image and the circle that made it look more like two semicircles. There were no additional graphics, lettering, or mottos attached to the symbol. We can safely assume that the meaning of the original logo is associated with the forward-moving progress of the company as well as for the business of sanitation. Garbage collection services are constantly evolving. The colors white and brown represented feelings of warmth, and reliability, loyalty, and comfort. These were the values that the Waste Management company intended to show through the symbol.

The evolution of the Waste Management logo

1,000 Logos further explores the evolution of the Waste Management logo. They do so by examining the second and current version. While the original logo was a modern and progressive emblem with strong meaning, it had evolved through the years of reliable service it provided for its customers. Waste Management had outgrown its original logo version. It was time for something new.

The 1998 Waste Management logo

The current version of the Waste Management logo was totally redesigned in 1998. None of the elements of the former logo were carried forth. This signals a new chapter in the story of the sanitation giant. This version does not contain any images other than the letters WM, butted up against one another in capitals The name of the business, Waste Management in smaller capital letters beneath. The simple logo features mirrored letters. The large W is in green and the M in yellow.

Letters make up the emblem

The WM mirrored letters combine to create the emblem. The color choices are symbolic of the intentions of the message of the logo. The calm green color is symbolic of life, health, and growth. It accurately represents the goals of Waste Management because this company takes care of the garbage that needs to be taken away to ensure that people can live in clean and sanitary environments. The business is constantly moving forward to ensure that the best methods of sanitation collection, handling, and disposition occur to ensure that the most environmentally friendly results are achieved for all stakeholders. The yellow color is a symbol of nature, energy, and ecology, which is what the company identifies strongly with its established values. The white is a symbol of purity, honesty, and transparency, which are all characteristics of the Waste Management company. The yellow color embodies the values of happiness and friendliness. Waste Management fulfills this commitment by keeping the earth cleaner along with making the air fresher to the best of their ability. The font is a sans-serif typeface with slightly extended geometric lines with distinction in the cuts of the letters. The structure of the emblem is strong and bold and it evokes feelings of competence and reliability.

Final thoughts

The Waste Management logo stands as a symbol of strength. It represents the integrity and values of the company. Its overarching goal is to serve customers. It does this by removing garbage. It does so in a manner that protects all of the stakeholders. The logo is well-formed. Careful attention is paid to the details such as the color palette, font, and layout. These details spell out the intentions of the Waste Management sanitation company. At first glance, it may seem like a simple logo. It is a simple rendering of the initials of the company and its name. However, much more thought and intention has gone into its creation. It evokes emotions in those who see the logo, whether they are consciously aware of the fact or not. These are symbols that speak to us at deep levels.


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