A Timeline Of Historic Recycling Moments

By Ali Godden

With global warming and other environmental issues inflicting our planet every day, reduce reuse and recycle has become one of the more common catchphrases. Metal recycling in Melbourne and around the world has seen a massive boom in the last 100 years in order to combat the growing crises. We have come a massive way since we first started and are now recycling everything from plastics to metals. It is worth exploring just exactly how we got to the booming industry we have today when recycling our metals!

1030: Paper recycling

The first paper recycling procedure was recorded by the Japanese. They had been recycling paper and re-selling it back to their local shops. There was a great absence of paper during 1030 due to the Zushoryo papermakers being fired. This caused the owners of private properties to begin the construction of small paper mills and hired the Zushoryo papermakers to work for them In Japan. They used mulberry, gampi, and hemp to make their paper but in 1031 they used waste paper as a material for remaking more paper.

1897: Materials recovery facility

In New York City the first materials recovery facility was created. A materials recovery facility was where the garbage was sorted at places called “picking yards”. The garbage was separated into various groups depending on the quality of the material. The groups ranged from different sorts of paper and metals to different colours of carpet. These materials were all sorted so they could be recycled and reused.

The 1900s: Recycling in the public eye

The term “Waste to Wealth” became popular along with the concept of recycling. The three Rs became more widely accepted as the public realized how much cheaper it was to reuse and recycle materials than to buy them brand new. 

1904: Aluminium recycling plant

The first industrial American aluminium can recycling plant opened in Cleveland and Chicago.

Metal Fun Fact

Did you know aluminium was worth more than gold in the 1800s?

1939 – 1945: World War II

The breakthrough for recycling both clothing and metal happened during World War II as materials were scarce because the war required a plethora of materials for the many soldiers. Metal and cloth were especially in demand so recycling was imperative if the military were to continue to supply uniforms and weapons to the soldiers. 

Manufacturing essential items for war – including planes and weapons – called for enormous quantities of metal. This was the reason for the halt in the manufacturing of items that required metal as well as why civilians were being asked to donate their spare metal. In more extreme circumstances, communities melted down fences and statues for their metal.

1946 – 1963: Post-war

After the war, there was no shortage of materials, and the need for recycling decreased. With the invention of the landfill, slowly but surely recycling became less popular.

1966: The environmental movement

The environmental movement started up and recycling made a comeback as environmentalists raised public awareness about the environmental issues caused by factories and businesses producing in bulk.

1980 – 1990: Government regulations

Countries such as America and Canada created regulations that made it mandatory for materials such as metals, glass, plastics, and newspapers to be recycled.

The 2000s: Greenhouse emissions

The correlation between global warming and mass production had been confirmed and scientifically proven. Many countries were urged to cut down greenhouse gas emissions and waste productions. This caused metal recycling to boom as it was a proven fact that recycling steel cans save up to 75% of the energy and 40% of the water than if you were to make steel from raw materials. Lower energy consumption also made the process a lot more economical as it produced less greenhouse gas emissions than mining would.

Thinking of recycling metal in Melbourne?

Metal Men Recycling is operating at full capacity during the current pandemic and will provide premium recycling solutions for all types of scrap metal. We offer pickup and drop-off services which include bins of varying sizes so you can easily manage those larger loads. Feel like bringing your scrap in yourself? Our yard features weighbridges that are rated up to 90 tonnes – ensuring a quick and easy experience no matter what vehicle you’re in.

If you’re interested in recycling metal in Melbourne, then contact us by filling out the form on our website or calling 03 5941 6677 and one of our experienced and friendly team members will get back to you.

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