Where there’s muck there’s Brass

The old saying that where there’s muck there’s brass has been true for many hundreds of years. Whenever one person throws something away another person could see value in that item. People recycle stuff every day and not just because it is now the trendy and earth-saving thing to do. It was done then because it was the sensible thing to do. It was something that people didn’t think about. They darned socks, they repaired broken toys, they bought new parts for electric goods instead of replacing the whole thing, they thought about the best way to fix something. It was the mentality of those days compared to today’s ‘throw-away society’ that creates expensive yet substandard items for market, knowing that they won’t last very long. We have garbage piles up to the sky and landfills that go far too deep into the earth and every small aspect of recycling is important.

The Impact of the War

During World War II there was a distinct lack of scrap metal in Gloucester as well as the rest of the country and people were asked to scrap anything they could lay their hands on, including metals, material, silk, and anything else that could be used in the war effort. The need for guns, tanks and ammo was outweighed by the need for fridges and other metal appliances. Parachutes were made from silk and anything that could help was donated and recycled for the effort.

Old vehicles were taken to wrecking yards and scrapped to be reused as something else or recycled as tanks, guns and ammunition. Many scrap yards in those days were devoted to anything metal, including cars, appliances piping and such, and they bought and sold items based on weight. This is opposed to wrecking yards which only take cars at their primary source. Wreckers yards break the cars down into components and sell the good parts, the spares and the replacements to fix other models of car that have broken down. During the war there was a lack of vehicles because of petrol rationing, so scrap yards were the primary source of metal used in scrapping and recycling. Most of the metals that were used during the war were steel, iron, aluminum, copper and brass and primarily for machinery and items used in the war effort, especially in Europe and the United Kingdom.

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