In pre-industrial times, there is evidence of scrap bronze and other metals being collected in Europe and melted down for perpetual reuse. In Britain dust and ash from wood and coal fires was collected by 'dustmen' and downcycled as a base material used in brick making. The main driver for these types of recycling was the economic advantage of obtaining recycled feedstock instead of acquiring virgin material, as well as a lack of public waste removal in ever more densely populated areas. In 1813, Benjamin Law developed the process of turning rags into 'shoddy' and 'mungo' wool in Batley, Yorkshire. This material combined recycled fibres with virgin wool. Bac a dechet The West Yorkshire shoddy industry in towns such as Batley and Dewsbury, lasted from the early 19th century to at least 1914.
Industrialization spurred demand for affordable materials; aside from rags, ferrous scrap metals were coveted as they were cheaper to acquire than was virgin ore. Railroads both purchased and sold scrap metal in the 19th century, and the growing steel and automobile industries purchased scrap in the early 20th century. Many secondary goods were collected, processed, and sold by peddlers who combed dumps, city streets, and went door to door looking for discarded machinery, pots, pans, and other sources of metal. By World War I, thousands of such peddlers roamed the streets of American cities, taking advantage of market forces to recycle post-consumer materials back into industrial production.
Legislation has also been used to increase and maintain a demand for recycled materials. Four methods of such legislation exist: minimum recycled content mandates, utilization rates, procurement policies, recycled product labeling.
In some countries there are large (5 cubic meters and more) waste containers serving several buildings. Bac a dechet special garbage trucks have been developed for raising these heavy containers and emptying them. Another option is a truck that replaces the container with a clean one, and takes the whole container to the garbage depot.