When did recycling start? Are you curious to know the history of recycling?

Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place.

We’ll enlighten you on how recycling began, from the pre-industrial age to the present. Before concluding our talk, you’ll also learn the benefits of recycling.

How long has recycling been around? Let’s dig into history.

When was Recycling Invented?

The concept of conserving waste materials isn’t modern technology.

It was a common practice for most humans centuries ago. People in those periods often reuse items to alleviate the scarcity of resources. It was rare to see prominent-scale recyclers.

The ancestors predominantly practiced the concept of recycling in households.

But today, technology is far beyond the walls of households.

Several reprocessing plants are using sophisticated machines to simplify the process. This makes it possible to recycle large amounts of waste materials quickly.

Additionally, it needs less effort to carry out the recycling.

Pre-Industrial Age Recycling

According to historians, the concept of recycling started during the bronze age. That was around the fourth century BC. During these periods, getting virgin resources was extremely hard.

Therefore, it was evident that humans saw the need to turn valuable resources into reusable articles.

Researchers further explain they found mounds of trash that were collected, sorted, and resold. Based on the facts provided, the Romans resold those articles when Mount Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii.

Furthermore, there was also some evidence of scrap bronze and other metals being collected by Europeans. They’re melted down to be used continually.

How Did Recycling Start?

Every recycling material has a peculiar history. To better understand this topic, we will look at their personal history. We’ll start from the oldest to the most recent.

  • History of Metal Recycling

Metals happen to be one of the earliest materials that ancestors recycled. Historians claimed metal recycling began shortly after skillful ancestors introduced the concept of metalworking.

This activity dates back to 400 BC. The Romans created statues, weapons, etc., using metallic articles such as jewelry and melted bronze coins during these times.

In America, metal recycling started during the revolution.

Recyclers melted down several metallic articles, including statues, to create more weapons to fight the British. Most figures recycled were of British monarchs and kings.

They manufactured about 42 088 from those items and statues.

  • Glass and Pottery Recycling History

Before the invention of pottery, ancestral men relied on animal horns, plant shells, etc., as water cups.

Things instantly changed when pottery was introduced around 500 BC. As we said, our ancestors recycled articles due to the scarcity of materials.

Around 1500 BC, the first glass bottles were crafted. Archeologists later found uncovered glass shards, kiln fragments, and fuel ash lag at one of their excavating sites.

Such remains point to the recycling of glass in those regions.

  • When Paper Recycling First Began

Paper is the following material with a long history of recycling.

Historians first recorded the activity in Japan around 1031. When paper production started in Japan, the management was in the hands of the state.

But when the Heian Imperial Court lost power, private hands over those mills began running them. Reprocessing facilities introduced the concept of recycling to help maximize output while conserving the material resource.

They recycle papers during these periods by boiling them to a pulp. The recyclers used most papers they recycled for paintings and poetry. Japanese takes recycled papers as precious materials.

Perhaps, that’s why the emperor’s wife recycled all the letters and poems she received from the emperor after his death. She wrote a sutra on the recycled paper to wish his eternal soul rest.

  • The Birth of Plastic Recycling

According to some experts, plastic recycling started around 1907. Items made of plastics were reprocessed as alternatives during the war, considering the scarcity of natural resources.

During the war, synthetic silk was invented around 1935, alongside other materials such as parachutes, helmet liners, body armor, and more.

Given the whole day, we can’t digest all the history of recycling. It’s as deep as the ocean. When we meet next, we’ll tell you the rest of the story. But for now, let’s look at the benefits of recycling.

The Benefits of Recycling

The most important benefit of recycling is the same as other types of waste.

That’s returning of resources. For every item you recycle, you’re bringing back previously discarded parts. These include glass, iron, paper, plastic, and lots more.

Returning these resources helps maintain clean air and water supplies. Additionally, reduced greenhouse gas emissions maximize biological emissions.

Lastly, recycling helps reduce the number of landfills used and improves soil water quality.

History of Recycling in America

The history of recycling in the US began during the first world war. There was a revolution in the way that resources were grown and processed.

The new system involved the cultivation of cotton, a once-Island staple, and other tropical plants. After the war, the rest of the world used these new technologies.

Newer technologies, such as plastic bags, cellphones, and refrigerators, could not handle the tremendous amount of waste generated.

When the reprocessing facilities solved plastic bag problems in the early 2000s, other local recyclers followed how procedure.

We mean, materials were brought to the center of the city or town alongside their nutrients and are broken down or recycled. The sorting process was the same as that of old, with each material returning its former resources.

However, redepositing these resources in the right places became different.

These articles are brought to the facility, where they are broken down and recycled. Additionally, the process of redepositing also involved the demolition of old buildings.

In some cases, the materials bottled and placed in the local water system would be combined with other materials from the establishment to create an entirely new building.


Let’s be clear: recycling isn’t just for cities and towns.

Many people are willing to do everything to recycle much of their favorite stuff.

However, it’s important to remember that recycling is for more than just homeowners or businesses that process the materials.

It’s also a key component of sustainable development. As with other forms of waste, the better the system for managing and managing the trash, the better it will do.