looking back at the history of recycling

Looking Back at the History of Recycling

Here at Santa Rita Waste Systems, we’re proud to contribute to a greener, cleaner future for residents of Southern Arizona. We provide dumpster rental, waste management, and recycling services for individuals and businesses, and our commitment to the environment is second to none compared to our competitors. We are driven by the “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy, but we understand that not everyone shares our same passion for sustainable and responsible waste management. That’s why we’ve written this brief look back at the history of recycling to give you a better idea of where the concept came from and how we got to where we are today.

Early Recycling

Recycling, in some form or another, has been practiced for thousands of years. Prior to the industrial age, when people couldn’t make goods quickly or cheaply, virtually everyone practiced recycling to some capacity. As more and more goods were being made faster and with less effort, it became easier (and in some cases cheaper) simply to throw old items away and purchase new ones. It wasn’t until the environmental concerns of the 1960s and 70s that large-scale recycling programs started with the aim at curbing the disposal culture in America.

Supporting the War Efforts

Before the environmental movement of the 1970s, recycling in America in the early part of the 20th century was a product of conversation efforts to support the war. In the 1940s, for example, during the height of WW2, goods such as nylon, rubber, and all types of metals were rationed and recycled to help provide the military with the products it needed on the battlefield.

Modern Recycling Programs

As mentioned previously, the large-scale recycling programs of today are largely a result of the environmental movement which raised awareness about the negative effects of rampant consumerism. However, there are also plenty of economic benefits of recycling that has made the practice popular today.


Call Santa Rita Waste Systems at (520) 624-0550 to learn more about our roll-off dumpster rentals and waste management services in Tucson and nearby areas of Southern Arizona.