The Organization of American Historians asked me to write a brief post on the Process blog about the history of recycling. Here’s the lede:
In the popular imagination, recycling arose out of the modern environmental movement. Some associate recycling with efforts to to divert discards from landfills or with World War II scrap drives when the government mobilized resources for the war effort. But recycling’s history is both older and more complicated than either of those depictions.
Paul Revere recycled, though he did not use that word…
Read the rest, including discussion of curbside programs, wartime scrap drives, and the turn towards upcycling as a sustainable design strategy.