Recycling and conservation were a necessity during the war. The increased need for the production of military goods and the necessity to clothe and feed soldiers translated into a shortage of civilian consumer goods. Rationing of food, gasoline, and rubber meant that Americans cut down on their consumption of meat, sugar, and coffee, as well as unnecessary travel. These scarce goods could not be purchased without government issued ration stamps. Production of most durable goods was also halted for the duration of the war, making reuse a necessity. In order to supplement food rations, Americans were encouraged to plant victory gardens. Every available space was used to cultivate fruit and vegetables. Scrap drives were organized to engage everyone in collecting old paper, rubber, metal, and even waste fat from cooking.
Americans backed the war effort another way, by putting their wages into war bonds. These bonds were purchased at less than face value and cashed in with interest after a set number of years. The purchasing of bonds helped fund the war, allowing for 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to be put toward military spending.