It may be more important to reduce your Carbon Footprint, than recycling.
The average North American produces 0.7 ton of garbage per year. However, this same person produces 18-20 tons of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to the weight of 3-5 elephants.
Calculate your Carbon Footprint at Zerofootprintoffsets or various other sites. (Note: some of these sites will plant trees to offset your Carbon Footprint for a fee, however, some of them can be scams.)
Your Carbon Footprint is the cause of Global Warming, which can leave a destroyed environment for your children. So, don't be greedy, or hypocritical. As you would tell your children, "leave it as clean as you found it".
According to a UN report, natural disasters are on the rise, killing more people:
The earthquake/volcanic disasters have not risen. The climate related disasters have.
Between 1950 and 1959, there were 20 disasters, costing $38 billion in economic loss.
Between 1990 and 1999, there were 82 disasters, costing $535 billion in economic loss.
Note that each disaster has become more expensive. Number of disasters has increased 4X, but the cost has increased 14X.
Therefore, Global Warming can cost you a lot of money and reduce your standard of living, not to mention a possible refugee crisis banging on your country's border.
Supposedly, in the past 10-20 years, the size of houses have exploded but the size of families have shrunk. Houses are huge generators of CO2.
We need to deter people from buying such big houses. We need to provide incentives for people to live in condos or apartments.
Of course, SUVs are huge generators of CO2. They carry 700+ lbs of extra gears and machinery so that they can go over rivers, creeks, logs and up rocky hills. Yet, nobody drives over logs and up rocky hills, not even the SUV owners in small rural towns. SUVs are the extreme form of pretentiousness, as the owners pretend to be outdoorsy and rugged, yet the majority of them are as urban as you can get.
Therefore, we should immediately stop the sales of SUVs.
We need to provide incentives for companies to allow people to telecommute, since commuting cars is a huge contributor to CO2 emissions.
World average: 1.13 metric tons of CO2 per person per year
American average: 22 tons per person
World average: 6 tons of CO2 per person per year
Elephant weight: 3500-7000 kg
20 metric tons = 2.8 - 5.7 elephants
Garbage per person: 4.4 pounds per day = 0.72 metric ton per year
Garbage per person: 4 pounds per day = 0.66 metric ton per year