It may seem like recycling has been around forever. The symbols are everywhere. The special trash cans are on every corner, and they are deployed throughout your office building or business. It’s obvious that recycling is here to stay, but where did it come from? Where is it going? And, what difference does it make to you and your business?  

Where Did Recycling Begin?  

The earliest known examples of recycling are from 9th century Japan. The production of paper naturally lent itself to reuse and recycling; recycled paper was considered more precious. Jump forward to 1690, the Rittenhouse Mill in Philadelphia started a recycling operation to turn linens and cotton rags into the paper they sold to printers.  

Scarcity is the mother of invention, so the next prominent historical hop was World War II, where a massive effort was underway to turn tin, rubber, steel, and paper into the materials that the Allied forces needed to create airplanes, tanks, machine guns, and also parachutes. Historians have stated that the American massive recycling effort helped the Allied forces win the war. 

What About More Modern Recycling?  

The first examples of curbside collection are from the 1960s, but the 1970s saw the emergence of “green” as a movement to inspire the public, with Earth Day first celebrated on April 22, 1970. Curbside collection became a real thing in Missouri with paper collection in 1974, but Massachusetts also received an EPA recycling grant to start a curbside collection program. By 1980, some 220 curbside collection programs were popping up all across the US. More than 10,000 communities had a recycling program of some kind by 1990.  The next evolution in recycling is moving toward legislating and goal setting to encourage recycling and sustainable behavior. The green movement has accomplished much more than just setting up a bunch of curbside collection programs, though.  

Why Are Recycling Efforts Still Important?  

Most of the most vocal advocates of recycling and sustainability believe that true change is multi-faceted. It takes both the legislative hammer, forcing and incentivizing. But it also takes the book. It takes education: getting into the classrooms, showing, telling, and encouraging students to take action. It also takes business owners like you to make recycling and sustainability a priority, and give your staff the tools they need to make a difference. It can feel like a dispassionate chore, particularly for business owners but you could also look at it as an opportunity to grow your business in a sustainable way, demonstrate your company’s core values, and support team building within your organization.  

How Trashcans Warehouse Makes a Difference 

We, at Trashcans Warehouse, have continued to support recycling and sustainability, with our products and services. We also work to make the process of purchasing and deploying trash cans as easy as possible. We work to make our efforts part of the solution, by educating and bring awareness to the important efforts both in the US and around the world.