SALVAGE - Recycling, 1940's style


National Salvage Drives were an important feature of the wartime years.

The patriotic housewife was told to put her Salvage into four separate containers, consisting of:

An Image of a Child Helping the Salvage Drive

PICTURE: Officially encouraged by such characters as 'Superintendent Salvage' and 'Detective Inspector Waste', Children became willing helpers in the salvage drive.

An Image of a Poster Reading 'Save Kitchen Waste to Feed the Pigs'

  • TINS and METAL (earmarked for aircraft and tanks)

  • BOILED BONES (to be used to make glue for aircraft or glycerine for explosives)

  • KITCHEN WASTE (for feeding pigs)

  • PAPER (for recycling)

  • RAGS (if indeed there were any to collect - often the housewife's reply would be "we're wearing 'em!").

Residents were also asked to donate scrap metal. Everything from old razor blades to iron garden railings were handed over.

A network of collection depots were created to house the items gathered. Residents would often be reminded of the following shown below.

"Every scrap of food stuff saved is a blow to Hitler's U-Boats which are out to starve us. Here is your chance to beat the enemy in your own kitchen. Put your reply to Hitler's threat in the waste food bin"

Salvage for Aircraft / Saucepans for Spitfires

The Minister of Aircraft production Lord Beaverbrook encouraged citizens to hand over their aluminium pots and pans to build aircraft - A war on waste was declared.

An Image of a Group of Children with Saucepans

PICTURE: Boys helping to do their bit for aircraft production

With this drive for the salvaging of household goods, many songs designed to keep up morale, were written with one such salvage song displayed to here

“My saucepans have all been surrendered

the teapot is gone from the hob

the colander's leaving the cabbage

for a very much different job.

So now, when I hear the wireless

of Hurricanes showing their mettle

I see in a vision before me

a Dornier chased by my kettle".