Rationing and Recycling
Use It Up,
Wear It Out,
Make It Do or Do Without
Ration: to limit amounts, based on the size of the supply
The government restricted the amount of meat, heating oil and other
products used at home in order to be sure there was enough for military
needs. The Office of Price Administration (OPA) also set price controls on
certain products so that shortages would not raise market prices.
In mid-1942, Americans were issued ration books for sugar. By December
1942, a driver could buy only four gallons of gasoline each week. These
unused ration stamps with fighter plane illustrations are from War Ration
During 1942, a national speed limit of 35 mph was imposed and pleasure
driving was prohibited. By March 1943, meat, cheese, butter, canned
goods, coffee, automobile tires and shoes were rationed.
During the war, tokens or stamps were required for
purchasing rationed goods. . . . We usually had a surplus of sugar
stamps since my mother was not a baker or canner. These were traded by
my parents with friends and relatives for gasoline stamps. We traveled
while others baked and canned.
Recycle: to reuse something, sometimes after reprocessing the
I also remember the drives to save various items for
recycling. We saved such valuable things as toothpaste tubes, which were
then made out of metal, aluminum, foil from cigarette packages and even
girdles, which contained much-needed rubber.
June R. Shafer
Shafer participated in scrap drives during World War II when she was a
nursing student at the University of Michigan. In the poster from the
exhibit, students are helping the war effort. The boy symbolizes those who
collected scrap metals.
The late 1930s and early 1940s were a tumultuous time
for the junk business. It was a time when suddenly Junk became Scrap, a
vital raw material required by our nation's industry as it became the
arsenal of democracy. . . . The Louis Padnos Iron and Metal Company
acquired its first real piece of mechanized scrap processing equipment in
the late 1930s. . . . For the first time Louis Padnos bought a new truck
rather than someone else's cast off.
recalling his father's scrap metal business