When I was young, recycling was easy. They set up boxes for each kind of recyclable in many buildings on campus. When you were finished with your soda, candy bar wrapper, or magazine ad inserts, you put it in the proper bin.

How to get People to Recycle:

  1. Don't make recycling so much work that the trash is easier.
  2. Don't make it too complicated.
  3. Make it so that children and elderly people can do it right.
  4. Don't require the item be clean and food-free.
  5. Don't require number symbols to recycle.
  6. No special reason itmes are not recyclable.
  7. What is recyclable must be set by a national standard, not what they find markets for.
  8. The recycling agency must wash and sort items.
  9. The rules on recycling must not change.

What happened? Now there are so many wacky rules that you don't know whether or not you can recycle it or which bin to put it in.

One big problem is that the rules are different in different places. Different cities, towns, counties, townships and other places had their own rules.

Another big problem is that the rules keep changing. What you could recycle yesterday you can't recycle today.

Here are some of the rules the average person wanting to recycle something must obey:

Here are the awful results of such complication:

So why is it such a mess? The government agencies and businesses collect only the real materials that they actually have markets for. If they gain a market for something, they start taking it in the recycling, and if the market disappears, they stop taking that item.

Maybe a law standardizing what is recycled is needed to get rid of the variability and confusion.