Rochester, New York
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Rochester, NY 14623
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The Scrap Yard & Beyond: A Brief History of Recycling in the US June 8, 2017

Rochester, Monroe
The Scrap Yard & Beyond: A Brief History of Recycling in the US , Rochester, New York

Although recycling dates back to 9th century Japan, the concept did not reach American soil until the late 1600s. The process has a rich and dynamic history that includes many milestones and innovations, all of which have contributed to a greener, brighter future.

Whether your recycling efforts focus on unique scrap yard finds or filling bins with paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum, it’s helpful to gain an understanding of the history of recycling. Below are a few tidbits to inspire your eco-friendly efforts.

Rittenhouse Mill, Philadelphia

In 1690, the Rittenhouse Mill opened in Philadelphia, PA, for recycling linen and cotton rags. The mill produced paper from these items, which was then sold to printing companies and used for newspapers and bibles.

The Second World War

World War II resulted in significant U.S. recycling efforts. Over 400,000 volunteers collected tens of thousands of rubber, steel, tin, and paper products to save money for the war. Most Americans were enthusiastic about collecting recyclable materials to help troops overseas.

First Curbside Collections

scrap yardCurbside recycling in the U.S. began in the early 1970s and included yard waste, paper, and metal recycling. During this time, separate bins for different items became popular all over the country.

The 1980s Through Today

As of 1985, the United States boasted a nationwide recycling program. By the 1990s, more efforts were made to keep recyclable items out of landfills. America Recycles Day began in 1997, a November holiday established to encourage recycling by emphasizing its eco-friendly and economic benefits. The recycling industry has grown considerably since the ‘90s, though no federal laws on the practice have been enacted. Recycling remains a local and state government issue.


Learn more about metal recycling, computer recycling, and used auto parts by contacting the friendly team at Metalico Rochester. With three locations near Rochester, NY, this scrap yard and metal recycling facility also offers pickup service. Call (585) 436-0713 or visit the website for more information.

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