During World War II households were encouraged to save bones, as well as other waste materials, in a bid to help the war effort. Bones in particular were needed as they were used to make explosives lubricating oil, glue, fertiliser and animal feed amongst other things.
This article featured in the local Bromley newspaper in 1943 appealing to householders to save their bones, however small they seemed. The Ministry of Information also used promotional films such as the cartoon “Bones..Bones..Bones – Save Bones” (1944) to highlight their mission.
Appeal to Householders
More bones wanted for War Effort
The Borough Engineer reported that the following quantities f salvaged materials had been sold during the four weeks ended April 17: Paper and cardboard, 40.8 tons; scrap metals, 17.45 tons; bones, .9 tons; kitchen waste, 6405 tons.
Alderman Stafford Clark asked Councillor Lyle, Chairman of the Establishments Committee whether he was satisfied with the collection of bones (.9 tons in four weeks), which represented two-thirds of an ounce per head of population in the borough.
Councillor Lyle: We are never satisfied with the returns of salvage – not really satisfied; but we have taken every step to encourage the saving of bones. We have placed in every street receptacles to receive bones, and the public from time to time have been requested to put them in the receptacles, recognising as we do that 100 per cent of bones are valuable for the war effort.
He added that a lot of the meat that was coming into the country was boneless. While the quantity of bones was small, they would like the public to realise the importance of collecting as much as possible.