The first Salvation Army recycling depots were opened in Australia in 1880 and provided work, accommodation and food for men leaving prison - known as a "Prison Gate Brigade Home". With little or no machinery the work provided was labour intensive and was ideally suited to the target population.
Collecting, sorting and baling waste paper was one example of an early environmentally-friendly project that many centres engaged in. In time, "jumble sales" were added, which enabled the poor to clothe themselves and their children with items discarded by the “better off” members of the community. Later other household items were also recycled by what was known as "Salvage Departments”.
From these humble beginnings, The Salvation Army has developed a multi-million dollar recycling service. We currently operate the largest international network of collection centres, retail stores and recycled clothing export services. This development has been driven by our commitment to gaining the maximum benefits from the recycling industry in order to provide funds for the mission of The Salvation Army.