The History Of Recycling: How It All Started

Recycling has become an everyday part of our lives, from using recycling equipment at work to popping your waste in your recycling bins at home. But this process of reusing resources is certainly not a new concept and is one that has been around for a very long time. Humans depend on recycling for development and survival, and our civilisation simply wouldn’t exist without reusing our natural resources time and time again. Here at WRT, we are experts in used recycling machinery, and we are taking a look at the history of recycling.

The Early Days Of Recycling

Today, we have advanced processes and technologies which allow us to recycle materials and use them to create other similar products. For example, a cardboard box can easily be recycled into a newspaper, a paper towel or even another cardboard box! Years and years ago, things weren’t quite so simple, but that didn’t stop civilisations from reusing what they could. Damaged items such as metal weaponry would be melted down and refashioned into something new and useful. The early days of recycling were typically centred around reusing various types of metal, because it was straightforward to melt down and reuse without any recycling equipment or machinery.

Across the globe, different civilisations started recycling in their own unique ways. There are records revealing that broken glass was often used to create new objects. In ancient Rome, the Romans would transform bronze coins into intricate ornaments for their homes. Around the same time, ceramic was also recycled to create new objects, particularly among items which had become damaged.

Recycling In The 20th Century

Recycling of metal and textiles continued through the Middle Ages and into pre-industrial times. It was at the beginning of the 20th century when we saw major industrialisation and recycling took a back seat for a while. When the second World War kicked off, people had to learn to carefully use and reuse any available resources, forcing them to find new ways to recycle. There was an overall deficiency of usual, everyday products and the UK saw many campaigns encouraging people to recycle and reuse anything they could.

After the end of the war, some countries maintained what they had learnt on the way and continued their recycling processes, while others quickly became more wasteful. It was in these countries that recycling was pushed to the forefront again in the 1960s. The hippie generation spent a lot of time and effort to campaign and rebel against large corporations taking over major markets and resources. In 1986, Europe passed a bill to protect the environment, and a few years later, laws came into place to avoid excessive packaging and encourage waste reduction.

Today, recycling is back at the forefront of everybody’s minds. It has become a way of life as opposed to just a trend and is certainly something that is here to stay. At WRT, we are specialists in all things recycling. For more information or assistance finding the right recycling equipment for your business, contact our team.