The desire to avoid waste and the depletion of natural resources by reusing second-hand goods must be nearly as old as homo sapiens himself. There are some extravagant exceptions, well known to modern archaeologists. Egyptian Pharaohs, Chinese Emperors, Scythian, Celtic and Saxon chieftains all delighted in taking food, plate, weapons, or terracotta armies of the finest workmanship with them to the grave. In the Celtic west the habit of throwing bronze swords into lakes and rivers depleted the stock of bronze so seriously that it hastened the use of iron. These were ostentatious examples of deliberate waste. Roman armies had a more practical reason for waste when they used a javelin that broke upon impact: the enemy could not throw it back. But at a more humdrum level of society, economy rather than waste was the rule from early in man's history. In England it is possible to document the process from medieval times. There was a market on Cornhill in London for second-hand clothes in the fifteenth century. The poet Lydgate had the misfortune to lose his hood:

Then into Cornhill anon I yode [went]

Where was much stolen gear among;

I saw where hung mine own hood

That I had lost among the throng;

To buy mine own hood I thought it wrong,

I knew it well as I did my creed.

But for lack of money I could not speed.