Recycling is a process in which materials that would otherwise be thrown away is collected, processed and turned into new products.
Recycling isn’t a new concept. In the 1700’s colonists collected rags to make paper for printing money. In the 1800’s scrap wool was collected to make military uniforms and blankets. The 1900’s brought many changes. From the Roaring 20’s where life was all about consume and waste to the 30’s when the Great Depression hit and everything was saved and reused. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, American’s were asked to collect paper, aluminum, tin, iron, steel, rubber, silk stockings, even cooking fat. If you didn’t recycle, you were aiding the enemy.
In the 1950’s landfilling became a cheap and easy way to dispose of trash. The 1960’s were crazy—from the Cuban missile crisis to the assassinations of JFK, Medgar Evans, Martin Luther King Jr. to troops being sent to Vietnam and in 1969, 500,000 people converged on a farm for a concert to protest the war. It was at this time that Senator Gaylord Nelson (D), Wisconsin, introduced a massive grassroots campaign. Free spirited activism was used to promote recycling. The Container Corp. of America, a company that made recycled paperboard, sponsored an art contest to help raise awareness for environmental issues. It was won by Gary Anderson, an art student from USC. The (3) three chasing arrows, representing Reduce—Reuse—Recycle, is now one of the most widely recognized logos in the world.
Curbside collection of recycling began in 1980 and just in time. The world produces and uses twenty time more plastic than they did in the 1950’s—from 50 million tons to 100 million tons. The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every single day and up to 75% of that waste is recyclable … but we only recycle approximately 30%.
It’s easy being green. But we need you. Without you … it’s just trash.