Stay in the Know - Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Join a network of more than 90,000 waste and recycling industry professionals. Get the latest news and insights straight to your inbox. Free.
Some experts even believe that recycling worked better before the 1970s than it does today.
November 16, 2016
Some think that recycling is a product of the environmental movement that took place in the 1970s but, in reality, recycling goes back much further than that. And some experts even believe that recycling worked better before the 1970s than it does today.
In a detailed article, TIME takes a look at the history of recycling in America.
TIME has more details:
As environmentally conscious Americans mark America Recycles Day on Tuesday, many may assume that recycling is a product of the environmental movement of the 1970s, the decade that saw the first Earth Day and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
But, though that time was an important turning point in the history of the idea, recycling in America goes back much further than that. In fact, some experts suggest that it worked better before the 1970s than it does today.
If creative reuse counts as recycling, people have been doing that for millennia—but early American recycling systems go back to the colonial era, when new materials were hard to come by. For example, metal was a scarce commodity at the time, says Carl Zimring, an environmental historian and professor at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y.—which is why Paul Revere would have had a scrap-metal yard. It’s likely that the horse he rode to announce that the British were coming was wearing horseshoes made out of what he collected, argues Zimring.
You May Also Like