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The History of Recycling

In many countries, it is now mandatory to recycle. Though it may have become a common practice for many of us, it hasn’t always been this way. The Japanese were actually the first to recycle, which occurred in the 9th century. After they learned how to make paper, they also learned to recycle. During this time, recycling paper became a common practice in Japan, and recycled paper was even considered more valuable than original paper. It was in the 17th century that recycling made its way to America, where the Rittenhouse Mill began recycling cotton and linen in Philadelphia. The cotton and linen was used to make paper, which was later used to make Bibles and newspapers. Then, during the American revolutionary war, a form of recycling emerged when the British had to melt down a statue of their king in order to produce more bullets. It was during World War II that there was a boom in the need for recycling as the US needed to save money. During this time, people recycled tin, steel, rubber, and many other materials as a way to help with the war efforts, which ended up saving the country a lot of money in materials. It was only in the 1960s that household recycling started up, with roadside collection becoming available in some places. In the 70s, society started to become more aware of the environment and the shift for environmental sustainability started becoming more popular. With this shift, recycling started becoming more available to the public and started growing in popularity. As the popularity kept growing, recycling started becoming mandatory in certain states. New Jew was the first state to impose a mandatory recycling law on its citizens in 1987. Since then, recycling has become the norm in many countries that have imposed mandatory recycling, and many more are pushing to make it the norm!


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