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Component 1 -

Task One

In early pre-industrial times waste was mainly composed of ash from fires, wood, bones, bodies, and vegetable waste. It was disposed of in the ground where it would act as fertilizer and help to improve the soil. Ancient rubbish dumps unearthed in archaeological digs reveal only small total of ash, and broken tools and pottery. Everything that could be was repaired and reused, populations were smaller, and people lived in less rigorous groups. However, the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer to farmer meant that waste could no longer be left behind, and it soon became a growing problem.

Until the Industrial Revolution, when materials became more available than labor, reusing and recycling was a common routine. Nearly 4000 years ago there was a recovery and reuse system of bronze scrap in operation in Europe and there is evidence that composting was carried out in China. Reuse and recycling has always existed in the form of salvage, an ages-old tradition stretching forward to the Rag-and-Bone men.

Traditionally, recovered materials have included leather, feathers and down, and textiles. Recycling included feeding vegetable wastes to livestock and using green waste as fertilizer. Pigs were often used as an efficient method of disposing of municipal waste. Timber was often salvaged and reused in construction and ship-building. Materials such as gold have always been melted down and re-cast numerous times. Later recovery activities included scrap metal, paper and non-ferrous metals.

However, as city populations increased, space for disposal became limited, and societies had to begin developing waste disposal systems. Many waste elimination methods were introduced including: recycling, sanitary landfills, and the closing of older dumps, creating safer ways to help maintain a healthy society. This helped create a national movement to clean up the ways of America and dispose of its solid wastes.