The History of Recycling

Recycling has become a routine task that we perform without really being aware of our actions. We throw metal, plastic and paper in one bin, while the other items go in a separate bag. How did we get here and why is recycling so important?

Why recycling is so important?

There are a number of facts that prove why recycling is beneficial.  The world’s population is growing and currently each human being – during the course of their lifetime- adds significant waste to the planet. In New York alone, if all citizens recycled their copies of a single edition of The New York Times, we could save 75 000 trees.

Where did recycling begin?

Evidence suggests that as early as 400 BC people have been recycling goods.  For examples, archaeological evidence indicated that glass make in the imperial Byzantine times were recycled in the city of Sagalassos, located in current day Turkey. Further examples suggest that metals from jewellery and coins were melted down for weapons and other necessary goods during war times.

How do we use recycled goods today?

If we jump to the 21st century, let us explore three ways in which we use recycling: Clothing, buildings and furniture.

Clothing: Textile recycling is the method of reusing or re-purposing clothing, clothing scraps or fibrous materials from the manufacturing process. These products are usually found mainly in discarded clothing, although other sources include: carpets, footwear, sheets and towels.

Buildings: There are a number of different ways in which you can use recycled goods to construct a building. Plastic recycled cladding materials are one of the more popular methods of using recycled products. Using recycled goods is cheaper to build with and requires little to no maintenance, due to the fact that plastic cladding does not rot.

Furniture: Recycling wood has become increasing common practices in the furniture trade. The most common source of recycled wood is from old buildings and bridges that has been stripped and put aside by demolishers. This wood is then de-nailed, cut to size and use to build chairs, couches, tables and other wooden products.

As the world continues to grow – at an alarming rate – recycling has become the future of our planet. This eco-friendly practice allows for waste items to be reused and not simply discarded at the local dumpster.