It was a very common occurrence in ancient times to melt down swords, pots, and other metal items that had served their purpose. After the melting down process, new items like coins, statues and other house hold items were made. In the early years products were not nearly as abundant as they are now, so resources were hardly ever wasted.
The folks from these times would cringe if they saw how much recycled materials were being squandered today.
The History of Recycling / The War Effort
A major part of the war efforts (WW I, WWII, etc.) included organizing metal drives so that resources could be used for recycling purposes. People understood the importance of recycling, even before the green movement became popular. These types of drives were the beginnings of organized recycling programs that began to crop up all over the world.
The idea of landfills came about in the 1940’s and 1950’s. When these huge depositories became available they were extremely popular because of the ease of tossing unused products away. No one anticipated that soon these landfills would multiply to the extent that they have.
Through the use of landfills it also became apparent that certain items (i.e. plastic water bottles) would take thousand of years to decompose.
The History of Recycling / An Inconvenient Truth
Unfortunately, much of the population’s decisions are based upon convenience. For instance, just 20 or 30 years ago it was common for people to purchase milk in glass bottles, and then leave them on their door step to be replaced.
This process was instituted to provide fresh, toxin-free milk, and the glass bottles were always reused. So it was an environmentally friendly service for this reason as well.
As time passed, consumers cared less about the environmental concerns and more that they could purchase the amount of milk they wanted in lightweight and easy to pour plastic cartons without having to rely on a service.
Unfortunately many of these bulky plastic containers wind up in with the trash. The reasons range from laziness to ignorance.
But the sad truth is we are experiencing the ramifications of these types of careless and unconscious actions everyday.
The History of Recycling / Learning Lessons
History teaches us very important lessons if we allow it to. When people band together for a common cause (i.e. a war), it emphasizes how important it is not take our freedom for granted. The same is true for the beauty of the country or the oceans. And the same truth rings true when we think about the [unlimited] resources we have on earth.
Education about recycling is more than just for kids. As adults we owe it to our community, to our families and to ourselves to read as much information as we can – recycling history, green programs, alternative energy options, etc. The future is now, and our history is there to help us from repeating our mistakes.
Thank you for visiting the history of recycling page. For more information on the importance of recycling follow these links: