History of Recycling

History of recycling
The tower of the windmill on a hill near Kuzelov, Moravia in Czech republic.

History Of Recycling

Recycling, or the method of re-processing and reusing waste items and materials, has long been practiced by many societies. Artifacts and archeological studies have indicated that as early as 400 BC, ancient garbage dumps or landfills have show much less household garbage especially during times when resources have been scarce. The lack of household garbage in ancient dumpsites has clearly shown that more waste was being recycled, due to the scarcity of new materials.

The History of Recycling in The Pre-Industrial Age

In pre-industrial times, there was good evidence of the collection of ferrous and non ferrous scrap metals like bronze, iron and steel in Europe. These scrap items were often melted down and formed into new products.

In medieval England, people collected many things including ash and dust from wood and coal fires. These were used as base material in pre construction for brick-making. Around this time, recycling was motivated by the cost of raw materials and the advantage of getting cheaper recycled feedstock. The lack of a public waste removal and disposal system also made recycling a necessary task during these times.

The Lack Of Resources Encouraged Recycling During Wartime

The outbreak of two major world wars in the early 20th century brought crippling shortages of precious natural resources. These major world-changing occurrences dipped available resources, and forced governments to encourage recycling. Recycling has had more to do with saving money and resources and money than with saving the Earth. During World Wars 1 and 2, governments urged their citizens to conserve wood, paper, textiles, fiber, and even donate metals and precious jewelry. Precious metals were used to help finance the wars. In the United States it became illegal to own precious metals that were not for jewelry or ornamental. In these times, governments and private businesses organized better resource conservation programs and often these strict programs continued even after the war ended.

The History of Recycling During The Post-War Era

Recycling went full steam even after World War 2 ended. During the 1970’s, rising energy costs and the oil embargo forced companies and governments to heavily invest in recycling initiatives. The idea of placing a recycling trailer behind the back of a waste management vehicle allowed for the easy collection of garbage and recyclable materials in most US cities.

The economic boom of the post-war years eroded the ideals of conservation and the wise use of resources from the consciousness of most people in the developed world However, the history of recycling continued to grow as the growth of the environmental movement, and the celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970 put conservation and recycling back in the mainstream. While recycling has not yet been fully accepted by some societies, recent figures suggest that public acceptance, and the market for recycled products, has significantly risen. Today, most cities and towns have laws and enforced systems for collecting and handling recyclable material. However, there is evidence that some towns violate the same laws they created if the programs are not profitable or have the system in place to run it.

One of the major reasons for the increasing popularity of recycling, is the need for reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfills. The recycling initiatives of today have already diverted 32 percent, or 60 million tons of garbage, from our landfills. New Jersey has facilities dedicated just for landfill diversion. They are called Material Recovery Facilities, or MRF’s. You can find a list of all of New Jersey’s MRF’s here . While some take residential customers, I encourage you to call first to make sure they can take your recyclable.

If you want to make sure your old things are recycled properly when its time to dispose them you can always call us and we’ll arrange everything including the transportation to the proper MRF. Power Cleanouts has the years of experience and know how to remove your unwanted things in an environmentally friendly way.

History of recycling
The History of Recycling