Recycling: More “American” than Apple Pie

As one of the oldest recycling families in America, we’re celebrating this 4th of July by sharing some fun facts we’ve learned about recycling and the American Revolutionary War.

King George III Statue Recycled in War
Image Source: Shutterstock.com / Tony Baggett; ID# 430825726

King George III Starts a Movement – One of the first instances of metal recycling  in the United States was in 1776 when patriots in New York City toppled a statue of King George III, melting it to make 42,088 bullets for the war.

Ben’s Scrap Paper – While paper recycling has become something of a norm today, did you realize that Benjamin Franklin used reconstituted scrap paper in his early printing process?

Copper’s Long Recycling History – Did you know that copper and copper alloy have been recycled in the U.S. since before the American Revolutionary War? According to the Copper Development Association, before the war, all American made copper products were made from recycled metal due to a British mandate that all copper ore be sent to England for processing. Today, recycling still accounts for almost half the copper produced and sold in the U.S.

making bullets from recycled metal
Image Source: Shutterstock.com / George Burba; ID# 207076159

From Bells to Bullets – Like the statue of King George III, it was very common during wartime for decorative and useful household items to be collected and recycled for use in the war. For instance, bells might be used to make bullets or iron kettles and pots could be melted to make armor.

The Recycling of Paul Revere – Best known for his famous ride that warned of British troop movement, Paul Revere was also a key influencer in advertising for and collecting scrap metal during the revolution.

General George’s Frigates – What’s a frigate? These were a type of warship common during the American Revolution, and General George Washington did his part during the war to urge for worn chains from these ships to be reused and recycled.

paper mill
Image Source: Shutterstock.com / Kartouchken; ID# 367446902

A Massachusetts Mandate – A hotbed during the revolution, Massachusetts also was home to some of the earliest recycling regulations in the country. For instance, during the war, the Massachusetts House of Representatives  passed a decree requiring all towns in the state to appoint an individual responsible for collecting rags for the mills.

A New Century – In 1898, Hyman Goodman, ancestor to Seth and Noah Goodman (owners of Northstar Recycling), founded H. Goodman & Sons in the greater Springfield, MA area. About a century after the American Revolution, Goodman & Sons continued the spirit of rag and scrap collection (which was so essential during the war efforts), with Hyman Goodman becoming one of the first scrap dealers to own his own warehouse and brokerage operation. Today, Seth and Noah Goodman continue the long tradition of American recycling as their team works to help businesses across the country recycle more and landfill less.

These are just a few recycling facts we thought you might find interesting this Independence Day. Happy 4th of July from everyone at Northstar Recycling! To learn more about our company and recycling services, contact us today.