Where we've been
Before there was a strip mall or box store near every home, people had to consider the durability of the products they bought. They had to recycle old materials and the disposal of a product had to occur only when it had served all of it's possible life. Below you can check out some of the important historical points
in the evolution of trash.
1904: Montgomery Ward mails out 3 million catalogues weighing four pounds each
New Amsterdam (Manhattan) passes a law against discarding waste into the streets.
America's first paper mill, the Rittenhouse mill, opens in Philadelphia, PA, making paper from recycled cotton and linen as well as used paper.
Colonists in Virginia commonly bury their trash. Holes are filled with building debris, broken glass or ceramic objects, oyster shells, and animal bones.
Junk dealers in Reno, Nevada, scavenge discarded personal belongings from the Oregon, Santa Fe, and California trails.
Brothers I.S. and John Hyatt successfully manufacture the first commercial synthetic plastic, "celluloid". It replaces wood, ivory, metal and linen in a variety of common items such as combs, billiard balls, eyeglass frames, and shirt collars.
Frank Woolworth opens the first five and dime store in Utica, New York.
King C. Gillette, a traveling salesman, invents a razor with disposable blades.
Colonel George Waring, New York's Street Cleaning Commissioner, organizes the country's first rubbish sorting plant for recycling.
The average Aerican produces about 4lbs of trash daily, almost all of which is wood or coal ash.
Corrugated paperboard containers begin to be used commercially.
The nation's first aluminum recycling plants open in Chicago and Cleveland.
Postmaster General Henry Clay Payne authorizes permit mail allowing 2,000 or more pieces of third or fourth class mail can be posted without stamps for a single fee.
Montgomery Ward mails out 3 million catalogues weighing four pounds each.
An unexpectedly thick run of toilet paper becomes the first paper towels.
Paper cups replace tin cups at water vending machines on trains and in public buildings.
W.K. Kellogg invents a wax paper wrapper for Corn Flakes boxes.
Major cities estimate that of the 1,000 to 1,750 pounds of waste generated by each person per year, 80% is coal and wood ash.
Waxed paper is commonly used to wrap bread.
Shortages of raw materials during World War I prompt the federal government to start the Waste Reclamation Service. Every article of waste is considered valuable for industry.
The Kleenex facial tissue is introduced.
Cellophane is invented by the DuPont Cellophane Company.
Aluminum foil is invented.
A new plastic, polyvinyl chloride, is patented by B.F. Goodrich.
Another plastic, polystyrene, is produced by Dow Chemical Company.
Krueger's Cream of Ale, Richmond, Virginia, produces the first can of beer.
Milk products are now commonly sold in paper packaging.
The DuPont Company patents nylon, the world's first synthetic fiber.
Coal and wood ash make up 43% of New York City's refuse, down from 80% in 1916.
Wisconsin Select beer is sold in no deposit, no return bottles, to compete with the recent introduction of beer in no return cans.
America enters World War II. Rationing of such materials as wood and metal forces an increased reliance on synthetic materials such as plastics.
Low density polyethylene film is developed.
The Dow Chemical Company invents Styrofoam.
Swanson introduces the first successful TV dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, and peas.
High density polyethylene (HDPE) is developed.
The Bic Crystal Company introduces the throwaway pen.
The first disposable razors are sold.
Bread is sold bagged in polyethylene rather than wrapped in waxed paper.
Sam Yorty runs successfully for mayor of Los Angeles on a platform to end the inconvenience of separating refuse. A city ordinance eliminates the sorting of recyclables.
Oregon passes the nation's first bottle bill. By offering cash for aluminum, glass, and plastic containers, it removes about 7% of its garbage from the waste stream.
Rhode Island enacts the nation's first statewide mandatory recycling law.
Fresh Kills, in Staten Island, New York, becomes the largest landfill in the world.
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List of dates and their importance with regards to the evolution of trash.Click now to view
Little known fact: I can produce more hair than several small countries combined