who coined term recycling

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  1. 0 Votes

    The complete Oxford English Dictionary is the source to use here, because it is an historical dictionary. Since they always look for at least the first use of a word in print, it’s often more reliable than someone claiming they made up a word without good evidence.

    The first use of recycling in the sense of “returning to a previous manufacturing state in a process” was in 1926, in a petroleum magazine.

    It makes sense that the word was adapted in 1960 to mean “return to a usable state”. The context was an aviation magazine, talking about recycling water on board.

    Of course words are very often spoken before they are written. In these cases, however they are writing about new technical processes, and there’s a good chance the words were NOT used in general circulation before that. (You know — how could people talk about a process that hadn’t been invented yet?)

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