The importance of recycling during the Civil War

You might think that recycling and reuse of materials like textiles, paper and metals is a modern idea. In fact, the recycling and reuse of materials was an important part of military action and the economy during the Civil War.

On April 19, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation declaring the blockade of major Southern ports in an effort to prevent goods and services from being traded by the Confederacy.

This action cut off the export of cotton, which the Confederacy depended on for currency. The blockade also reduced imports of food, medicine, artillery, manufactured goods, and luxury items. At first, these shortages were only a minor inconvenience, but as the War stretched from months into years, the inconveniences resulted in hardship and suffering.

From the battlefield to the home front – patriotic Southerners supported the War by reducing the amount of resources they used and by finding new and creative ways to reuse and recycle what little they had.


Did you know?

Each year, on November 15, millions of Americans take part in America Recycles Day to raise awareness about recycling and the purchasing of recycled products.

In the City of Manassas, we celebrate during the whole month of November! Residents participate in a number of events and activities including RecycleFest, Project Recycle Runway, and the annual Recycled Outdoor Art Competition.

Recycling isn’t just for special occasions! Every day, residents and businesses recycle their plastic containers, paper, cardboard and metal cans through the City’s curbside recycling program.

To learn more about recycling in the City of Manassas visit: to find out how you can participate in America Recycles Day visit:

For more information on recycling in the City of Manassas call the Trashline on (703) 257-8252.

recycling workers

When the level of recycling in the US reaches 75% it will create over 1.5 million new jobs and be the environmental equivalent of removing 55 million cars from the road.
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According to a recent Yale University/Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, the U.S. recycles less than 22% of its discarded materials.
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