Spotlight Friday: recycle

Well I am sure everyone knows this sign!

recycle, where does this word come from and what does it mean?

1922, originally of industrial processes; see re- + cycle (v.). Specifically of waste material from 1960. Related: Recycled ; recycling. (

Well actually recycling has been around for way longer than we might think. Prior to the industrial age, you couldn’t make goods quick and cheap, so virtually everyone practiced recycling in some form. Turned an old Tshirt or sock into a cleaning rag.

The mass production of the industrial age is the reason we need to worry about large-scale recycling, so much more one time use products. This culture of “disposable” goods created a number of environmental problems.

In the 1930s and 40s, conserving and recycling became important in the 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. Material such as nylon, rubber and many metals were rationed and recycled to help support the war effort.

Earth Day in 1970, jump started recycling once again became a mainstream idea. There was too much garbage ending up in the landfills, too much pollution, plus the chemicals that result when garbage breaks down and blends into a toxic soup known as leachate.

So now we separate our trash into different bins. We buy with the thought in mind, how could this item be reused or upcycled. We take our shopping bags with us, so we don’t have to fall back on plastic bags. I always get the reminder from my little one :”Mami, your bags, you don’t want to kill the sea turtles!!!”

Just yesterday when I was cleaning out some things, I hesitated to throw them away. Is there anything I could turn this into? Or use it for something else. So the magazines that I had stacked up in the corner, my friendly neighbor passes hers on to me, I packed up and sent them with my kid to school. They can always use them to read or cut things out.

I don’t know how the recycling works now in Germany, after leaving 2003 I am pretty sure things might have changed.  I remember having those big containers at the end of the street for glass, divided in green, white and brown. You washed your bottles and then just dumped them into the container. Still living at home in the late 80’s, I think it was then, that we got a yellow trash bags with the trash pick up. That was for all sorts of plastic. It all had to be washed out and then collected in this bag. Then came the green bin, besides the black bin. The green one was for all paper, the black one for everything else. We used to have a compost pile in the back of our yard. But you guessed it soon there was a brown bin for all the natural, garden stuff. Batteries you would bring with you on your shopping trip, because there was a container somewhere to drop them off. A lot of bottles had value. You would bring them back to the store, drop them in a machine and for every bottle you would get some money back.

I noticed last time when we went back home that even the trash bins at the train station had different slots for different trash. 

Now I don’t know about all the electronic trash, where that goes and how that is recycled. But I am pretty sure there is some way to dispose of that.

For bigger stuff like furniture there was always the place called  “Sperrmuell”, something like the recycling center or dump here.

So there was always this “green dot” on everything you bought, so you could and should recycle. Always try to buy those items, because you know those things will not end up in the landfill if you throw them in the right bin.

Yes it can get confusing and you will have to keep track of what day which bin will get picked up.

I am happy to see, that more and more companies here in the US put a sign on their packaging too, telling me if it is recyclable or not.

Now a lot of Artist have made it their material to work and create with, it is fun to see if you can figure out what it was before and what it has turned into.

Let’s go find some of those cool items on Zibbet:

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Large Stackable Chest Drawer, stacking, chest, Drawer, chest of drawers
by jdwallingtons

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Black/Gray Clutch
by Carduran Crafts

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Windchime Front porch garden Art recycled glass wine bottle
by Calibama

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Mr and Mrs vintage recycled silverware hand stamped wedding fork cake fork
by BellaJacksonStudios

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Infinity Scarf Beaujolais Eco Friendly Pantone by LovelySquid

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Envelopes Made from Recycled Maps
by Milomade

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Summer Sunset JunkMail Jewels Paper Garland
by texaseagle

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Trash Recycled Newspaper
by monroepapercrafts

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Arizona Tea Upcycled Soda Can by AbsoluteJewelry

I could spend all day looking at these treasures and think, wow those people saw the treasure they had in their house and turned it into something beautiful.

And I found some more on Etsy too.


Do you recycle or up-cycle? What is your favorite up/ recycled item?


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