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It wasn't until the environmental movement of the 1960s and 70s, heralded by the first Earth Day in 1970, that recycling once again became a mainstream idea.Though recycling suffered some lean years -- due to public acceptance and the market for recycled goods not growing -- it has generally increased from year to year [source: Hall] The success of recycling traces to wide public acceptance, the improved economics of recycling and laws requiring recycling collections or enforcing recycled content in certain manufacturing processes.
Prior to the industrial age, you couldn't make goods quickly and cheaply, so virtually everyone practiced recycling in some form.
To truly implement this step, it’s important to cast a critical eye on what we use, and ask: Both grownups and kids struggle with such questions, and it takes effort to begin answering them differently. You can begin reducing the amount of waste you produce by choosing to buy products that do not create excess waste that later has to be added to landfills.
Think meat that comes in styrofoam (a type of plastic, believe it or not), or fruit and veggies that have heavy packaging around them. You can also buy products that have packaging that can be easily recycled, and stop buying bottled water altogether.
In the 1930s and 40s, conservation and recycling became important in American society and in many other parts of the world.
Economic depressions made recycling a necessity for many people to survive, as they couldn't afford new goods.