Recycling with a War On

Food Moxie’s recent letter to “Friends and Neighbors” begins with: “Victory Gardens: During World War II, people across the country planted and learned to grow their own food . . . at a time when food was heavily rationed . . . Victory gardens enabled Americans to know they were contributing to the war effort.”

Yes, foods like sugar and butter were rationed, as well as some other items like shoes, but there was another national movement that more directly benefited the war effort, namely recycling metal scrap. Soup cans were flattened after use and recycled along with other sources of household scrap metal to then be melted down for munitions.

I was just a toddler then, but I recall how my family in suburban Cleveland deposited all our scrap in a pile on a nearby vacant lot, which became so huge our block was recognized for having the largest scrap pile in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

All newspaper was saved and recycled too. Recycling was considered patriotic back then.

— Bill Hengst