The first thing I learned in pre-school was how to recycle. (The second thing I learned was how not to bite my cubby-mate.) We separated glass bottles from plastic, sorting them into their appropriate containers. Before long, I was reducing, reusing, and recycling like a champ. But what I didn’t know was that each time I tossed a crusty milk carton into those bright blue bins, I was recalling a practice that is over two millennia old.

From reforged iron weapons to Energizer’s® EcoAdvancedTM AA battery, the below infographic celebrates the World’s Firsts in recycling. (I’m not talking about “repurposing” your fire escape as an outdoor mini bar.) Here are some of the truly innovative ways we’ve brought recycling into our everyday.

Separating your papers from your plastics may seem mundane, but it stems from an age-old quest to turn old into new. A series of inventive firsts paved the way for the recycling practices in place today, and Energizer® EcoAdvancedTM battery sits at the pinnacle of that. And the company’s not stopping there. Just like its predecessors, it plans to beat its own record in innovation by taking the recycled material in its batteries from 4% to 40% in just ten years — creating a brighter future and even more World’s Firsts.

Nandita Raghuram is a freelance journalist living in Brooklyn.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between Energizer and Studio@Gawker.