The recycling movement began in the 1960s, a time when people started to care more about the dwindling resources of the world. It was realized that the world--especially Americans-- were consuming too much of the world's resources too fast, and if we didn't slow down or make a change our children and children's children would be forced to live with less resources, eventually none at all. The recycling movement was both novel and unique--no one had ever before seriously considered the strange notion of sorting garbage into different piles...it seemed absurd at the time. There had been minor recycling initiatives in the past, but no one had thought to make it so mainstream and of such vital importance.
The most amazing thing about the recycling movement is that in its very nature it is a collaborative effort. Not one person can be said to have "invented" recycling. Although one person can do his part to recycle, one person throwing his can in the recycling bin as opposed to the trash can will not save the world entire. In order for recycling to have any meaning it must be accepted and done by many. This sort of collaboration, however, is different from collaboration we have studied so far. In most collaborative processes there are many people working together, sometimes under a leader, sometimes on equal footing, to brainstorm creative ideas. This was the case in the Bennis article, and the Brothers Danielson. It is so common to create a creative network. But in the case of recycling, that network must be the world, constantly working together to make our planet cleaner and more livable.
I think there are many who would argue that recycling is not a creative initiative. But the recycling movement was both novel and appropriate, and has come to play an essential role in taking care of our planet. It is an answer to a problem that the world faces, and though it cannot solve every problem it has been successful in diminishing the non-disposable waste products in our world, and every little bit helps.