Recycling may be as old as humankind. At a recent conference on "The Origins of Recycling" Phys.Org interviewed several of the participants including archaeologist Avi Gopher of Tel Aviv University.
In a hominid cave near Tel Aviv, believed to have been variably occupied from 200,000 to 420,000 years ago, Gopher’s team “uncovered flint chips that had been reshaped into small blades to cut meat—a primitive form of cutlery.” Gopher noted:
“Some 10 percent of the tools found at the site were recycled in some way. It was not an occasional behavior; it was part of the way they did things, part of their way of life.” (emphasis added)
“…the early appearance of recycling highlights its role as a basic survival strategy.” (emphasis added)