Maybe you've heard the 9% of what you put in the blue bin actually get's recycled stat. Or maybe you found out that Toronto doesn't recycle black plastic because of the conveyor belt colour and you're thinking "why the f* don't they just change the conveyor belt then?"
Well, truthfully, those are not the correct questions we should be asking ourselves. Instead we should ask why the f* are recycling companies or *couch* really large players in the market, making so much cash, and yet so much of what we throw away, is literally thrown away.
Recycling is a business, like any other business in society, it is in the business of making money. How does a business do well? It makes MORE money ... and so on and so on, you get it.
Well, the economics of recycling are wack. Think about. There are #7 different numbers and only #1, #2 and #5 are the ones that really have a market for them in the post-consumer plastics world. Yet, we are told to throw all the numbers in the recycling bin. So, how does anything get recycled then you ask? Well, the truck that takes your blue bin is called a "waste hauler" they then transport you blue bin materials to a MRF (Material Recycling Facility) who then sorts through it manually and with technology, then the separated materials are taken to another facility and maybe one more before being sold in piles of 1000 tonnes to a recycler (the real guy that breaks it down and pelletizes the material) and then resells it.
At CASE, I pick up your takeout containers (which are all#5) sort and sell the good ones back to restaurants for reuse (yey!) and drive the other to our partnered recycler. I am the waste hauler, material recycling facility, storage facility etc. All those in between are extremely expensive and make it so it's not as cost effective to save materials from landfill. Companies in the recycling industry also purchase landfills (private landfills) and can therefor just dump crap in there willy nilly.
This is why we exist. This is not to say please give us all you #5 plastics (please don't). We are truly going for building reuse infrastructure here. Recycling is our way of keeping these things out of landfill, period.