Industrialization spurred demand for affordable materials; aside from rags, ferrous scrap metals werecoveted as they were cheaper to acquire than was virgin ore. Railroads both purchased and sold scrapmetal in the 19th century, and the growing steel and automobile industries purchased scrap in theearly 20th century. Many secondary goods were collected, processed, and sold by peddlers whocombed dumps, city streets, and went door to door looking for discarded machinery, pots, pans, andother sources of metal. ByWorld War I,thousands of such peddlers roamed the streetsof Americancities, taking advantage of market forces to recycle post-consumer materials back intoindustrial production.Beverage bottles were recycled with a refundable deposit at some drink manufacturers in Great Britainand Ireland around 1800, notablySchweppes.An official recycling system withrefundabledepositswas established in Sweden for bottles in 1884 and aluminium beverage cans in1982, by law, leading to a recycling rate for beverage containers of 84-99% depending on type, andaverage use of a glass bottle is over 20 refills.
Resource shortages caused by theworld wars,and other such world-changing occurrences greatlyencouraged recycling. Massive government promotion campaigns were carried out inWorld War IIinevery country involved in the war, urging citizens to donate metals and conserve fibre, as a matter of significant patriotic importance. For example in 1939, Britain launched the programmePaper Salvageto encourage the recycling of materials to aid the war effort. Resource conservation programsestablished during the war were continued in some countries without an abundance of naturalresources, such asJapan,after the war ended.
The next big investment in recycling occurred in the 1970s, due to rising energy costs. Recyclingaluminium uses only 5% of the energy required by virgin production; glass, paper and metals have lessdramatic but very significant energy savings when recycled feedstock is used.
For a recycling program to work, having a large, stablesupplyof recyclable material is crucial. Threelegislative options have been used to create such a supply: mandatory recycling collection,container deposit legislation,and refuse bans. Mandatory collection laws set recycling targets for cities to aimfor, usually in the form that a certain percentage of a material must be diverted from the city's wastestream by a target date. The city is then responsible for working to meet this target.