During WWII, massive amounts of metal were required for weapons production (the manufacture of one tank required 18 tons of metal; one of the navy’s biggest ships took 900 tons).
During the war, all metal products (necessary for weapons production) were rationed. Grease was saved. Scrap paper was used for packing equipment and weapons. In 1943, because copper was vital to war production, pennies were minted from zinc-coated steel.
In addition to rationing, government campaigns promoted reusing vital materials. Communities across the USA held paper drives, rubber drives, and scrap metal drives. Children went door to door in their neighborhoods and a strong sense of community and patriotism prevailed.