GRN Recycle Talk FAQ

Date: Tue Mar 04 1997 - 04:32:00 EST

Date: Tue, 4 Mar 97 09:32 WET
Subject: Re: Start of recycling (C. Cuthbertson)

March 4, 1997

Dear C. Cuthbertson,

Let me quote William Franklin, of Franklin Associates, a firm that has a long history of consulting to US EPA and others on waste management:

 In years past, many an immigrant started a thriving family business as a junkman or scavenger. The private salvage industry has always recovered materials for recycling: metals, glass, paper, textiles, and rubber. This traditional salvage industry includes -- in addition to junkmen or scavengers -- dealers, secondary materials processors, brokers, and refuse haulers. In addition we have a long tradition of recovered materials collected by social service organizations and civic organizations, who earn money for their projects in this way. (From: Deja Vu in Source Reduction and Recycling: 20 Years of Cycles in MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE SOURCE REDUCTION AND RECYCLING CONFERENCE, 3/23-25/88, Hot Springs, VA by Tufts University, Center for Environmental Management.)
Franklin goes on to periodize the era that he is concentrating on only from the issuance of Rachel Carson s book Silent Spring to his then present time. However, I have read documents which promoted recycling as a healthful alternative to burning garbage in the 1930s, and in fact, in the 1890s. So, if you go digging deeply enough, you find that it didn t just start with the scrap drives of World War II (which in fact collected negligible amounts of war materials).

Some magazine articles to check:

 Solid Waste Treatment in SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY, June, 1969, p. 34+
 A Solid Waste Recovery System for all Municipalities, in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY, 2/71, p. 109+.
 Major Recycling Company Looks at Municipal Salvage Programs in PUBLIC WORKS, 7/71, p. 67+.

to name a few.

There are also no shortage of books with a historical look at the partial record.

-- Research Library for RCRA

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