8 Historical And Unusual Recycling Facts


The process of recycling dates all the way back to ancient times, and while recycling machinery and knowledge has expanded rapidly over the years, the concept and outcome still remains the same. Ancient cultures lacked common resources and their manufacturing processes were lengthy, so the concept of reusing everyday items was greatly instilled within them. As experts in used recycling equipment, we’ve collecting our favourite historical and unusual recycling facts.

1. Paper Recycling Dates Back To 1031

The very first known paper recycling happened in Japan back in 1031. The Japanese imperial court was declining, and this led to a decline in the production of paper. During this time, private estate owners decided to build their own paper mills and enlisted the help of workers to repulp paper into new sheets, which was then sold off in paper shops.

2. Metal Recycling Started With A Statue

During the war of American Independence, a King George III statue which once stood tall in New York City was taken down, melted, and created into new bullets. 42,088 bullets were made from the statue, and it is the first known case of metal recycling.

3. Practical Reusing Is An Ancient Practice

Ancient civilisations have been reusing their everyday items for improved practicality and efficiency for many, many years. Tools, pots, pans, and more were repurposed on a regular basis.

4. The First Formalised Recycling Happened In 400BC

Early Byzantines kicked off the recycling process by melting down glass and turning it into new items.

5. Reuse And Recycle Was A Post War Initiative

Following the First World War, resources were exhausted, and people were forced to adopt a habit of recycling and reusing everything they had. This was the first step towards the public taking a stance against landfills and waste.

6. The Recycling Arrows Symbol Came From A Competition

We all know the recycled paper symbol, of the arrows arching around into a triangle. This logo was designed by Gary Anderson, who entered a competition held by the Container Corporation of America. He won $2000 for winning the competition and his logo has been used ever since.

7. The First Bottle Bank Opened In 1977

Now there are over 50,000 bottle banks across the country, but the first opened just 45 years ago in 1977. Stanley Race dropped the first empty jar into England’s first ever glass recycling bank and made history.

8. Coca Cola Plastic Bottles Were Once Called The ‘Easy-Goer’

During the 20th century, glass bottles were the staple for Coca Cola and other major drink brands. In 1975, Coca Cola introduced their new packaging, known as the ‘Easy-Goer’, in the form of plastic bottles. These plastic bottles were lightweight and were easier to produce, and could be easily recycling using recycling machinery.

At WRT, we are specialists in all things recycling, and we have a range of used recycling machines to help your business follow in the footsteps of these recycling heroes of the past. For more information, contact us today.