Information film intended to raise the awareness of all RAF personnel of the value of salvage. Huge quantities of scrap are processed every day yielding tons of raw materials that would otherwise have to be imported by ships, vulnerable to attack at sea. The collection and sorting of salvage is explained, and how recycling plants process the scrap into new material.
Reel 1: Film opens with ground and air crews relaxing in a rest room, an airman throws some paper work into a waste basket. An officer and salvage crew enter the room to be greeted by singing, decrying their efforts spent on salvaging. The NCO explains salvaging is just as important as the tasks assigned to air/ground crews; like you, we are doing our bit for the war effort. A crew member throws an empty cigarette carton on the stove, ready for burning; the NCO berates the action; shows what little you all know about salvaging; explaining that everything can be used for salvage. Film cuts to several examples of both service and civilians throwing away their unwanted articles; it is the little things that count: they soon accumulate to huge volumes of potential cycling material. Clips of ships unloading at the docks; other clips show merchant shipping at sea; some will reach their destination, others sunk by the U-boats. The NCO compares the loss of a ship to what happens when salvage is not collected for recycling. A variety of salvage collection schemes are provided in the RAF and throughout industrial plants and factories in Britain. RAF salvage crews are seen at work: the principle is to place a receptacle (e.g. a box) where waste is likely to be dropped. View of receptacles placed around the station: crew emptying and replacing them. Not as glamorous as flying, but a real contribution to the war effort all the same. The different classes of waste are categorised. At a salvage dump the sorted materials are ready for removal to a recycling centre; bins for rubber, wood, metal, paper and glass are seen; baler to compress card/paper into convenient sized bales. The tons of waste thus recycled saves valuable storage capacity on ships and lorries bringing new raw materials to the factories.
Reel 2: The film continues with the Unit Salvage officer; he assess the quantity of each type of salvage, and additional methods whereby the volume can be increased; speaking with the crew's NCO they consult a graph on the wall. The station's collection point is nearly full and the contents ready for dispatch; the NCO alerts the collecting team. Film cuts to views of the huge variety of salvaged material, formerly discarded as waste: razor blades, metallic toothpaste tubes, broken file, a whole host of everyday items. Cut to group of WAAFs removing the copper washers from old sparking plugs: hundred's of tons of copper are reclaimed. Others are sorting metallic components into ferrous and non-ferrous scrap. Partially used clothing is sorted into reparable condition, or salvage for sending to the rag factory for re-processing. Used oil from the sumps of aircraft and road vehicles can be recycled to the original state, and used as engine oil. One gallon of sump oil can yield three quarts of good lubricating oil; the process is explained and illustrated in detail. The Army Salvage Corporation provides much needed help in the sorting and taking away of RAF salvage. To avoid duplication of processing plants, the army allows the RAF to add their salvage to the army plant; thousands of tons of salvage are recycled. Back in the RAF rest room the crews now appreciate the value of collecting scrap; but what happens after it has been removed they ask. 'You would be surprised' says the NCO.
Reel 3: The graded and sorted scrap is taken away to the appropriate recycling plant. Clothing and other forms of textiles go to a plant in Dewsbury where they are reprocessed into Shoddy, a fibrous mass, is spun into yarn and finally woven into cloth. The process is explained in detail, with camera clips of the machinery in operation. Scrap metal – aluminium, steel, ferrous and non-ferrous, and other rarer types of metal – are sent to the foundry to be melted down and cast into ingots. Aluminium and duralumin (a composite alloy based on aluminium) are essential to the aircraft industry; one foundry alone produces one and a half tons of aluminium a day, the combined output from all foundries is nine tons; sufficient to make ten fighter aircraft. Crashed German aircraft provide a good source of aluminium and other metals. Non aluminium scrap is melted in an electric furnace and poured into sand moulds to make bomb casings. Another important commodity is paper; tons of scrap paper arrive every day at the plant. Camera cuts to large bales of paper/cardboard arriving for processing into various grades of newspaper. The scrap is converted to a wet slurry and feed into a paper making machine; filmed and described in detail. The production of shell containers (gun shell cartridges) is explained. The paper shells prevent damage to the riffling of a gun barrel, and are thus made from high quality, smooth, paper/card. Elsewhere in the plant, the production of high quality writing paper is underway. The film returns to the rest room. The NCO and his team enter to a welcoming audience; they listen with interest as the NCO sums up the salvaging policy in the RAF. An airman shouts out 'Waste not Want not' as a theme for salvaging, endorsed by his colleagues. The film ends with the NCO beaming with satisfaction that his message has finally got through to all those present.