Environment Recycling & Waste Recycling for Victory! 18 Great Posters From When Every Little Bit of Scrap Made a Difference By Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter Facebook Twitter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated August 7, 2020 Share Twitter Pinterest Email credit: Northwestern University Environment Plastics Zero Waste It's just a single word. But it says it all. Recycling scrap and other materials was a very big deal; they go through a lot of steel and aluminum in ships, planes and tanks, and the mills are working full out. credit: American Legion Collection The War Production Board didn't mind putting it in a poster. credit: American Legion Collection Most of the real scrapping posters were aimed at farmers and industry, so they tended to have a more graphic and militarized motif; your scrap goes to war and takes down enemy airplanes... credit: American Legion Collection and submarines... credit: American Legion Collection and guns. credit: Northwestern University They were a little more subtle on the home front, collecting much more than just metal. Almost everything could be reused and recycled. credit: American Legion Collection You could win with tin cans, which mostly had paper labels then so you had to do more than just throw it in the bin. credit: Hennepin collection But everybody did it. credit: American Legion Collection Fat and grease are valuable again as people turn it into biodiesel. To do so they have to separate the glycerine; During the war it was the glycerine that was needed to make explosives. credit: Hennepin collection Powerful stuff! credit: unknown As this poster notes, most bottles for milk or pop were returned anyways for their deposits. However, people still had to be encouraged. credit: Northwestern University It was the same in industry; drums were reused, but the faster they are returned, the fewer that are needed. credit: unknown Most rubber at the time came from natural rubber plantations, many of which were strategic and across the oceans. Recycling rubber (and minimizing your driving) were critical. credit: bbc It wasn't just in America either; in Britain everyone pitched in. credit: unknown And in Canada too. credit: Northwestern University The general rule then, that still applies today, is that people should just not waste. The message could go out with clever posters like this, made up of drawing tools. credit: Hennepin collection Or with seriously heavy and over-the-top posters like this. No sense of humor here! credit: Victory Garden of Tomorrow The messages are still relevant, and still being remixed, like this one from Portland designer Joe Wirtheim at The Victory Garden of Tomorrow.