Many people today consider curbside recycling the quintessential model of eco-stewardship, yet this waste-management system in the United States was in many ways a pollutersponsored initiative that allowed corporations to expand their productive capacity without fixing fundamental flaws in their packaging technology. For the soft-drink, brewing, and canning industries, the promise of recycling became a powerful weapon for combating mandatory deposit bills and other source-reduction measures in the 1970s and 1980s. In examining the nexus of business, envirotech, and political history, this article explores how American corporations enrolled government agencies to construct resource reclamation systems in the United States that became models for waste management programs in municipalities around the world.
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