When I did a county leadership program in Ohio, one of the participants ran county Waste Management, and that was one of the places we toured to understand County issues.
I had asked why we didn't have separate trash/recycling bins, and he explained because it is a giant fraud:
- You take two trucks on the same route (wasting fuel), and the cost of the trucks/infrastructure, drivers, time and so on
- they pick up their separated stuff, then go to the same sorting facility (which we visited) -- where they put all the refuse on the same conveyor belts, and a bunch of people with stick/hooks are pushing and pulling to sort by type.
He explained the error rate among even the most activist civilians is way too high for the quality control required by recycling places, so they have to do this to both truckloads anyways. Thus having two cans was a waste of time, fuel and resources, when they did it better anyways.
When I shared that with folks in California (including people at one of the refuse centers), they said, "yup"... but it employs more people their wasteful way, and tries to teach the public through annoyance about how important the environment is. (Double face palm). It's not about about what's good for the environment (as their way is actually worse in fuel/pollution and efficiency), but about making more environmentalists that are behaving worse, but think they are better than everyone else, for following a really dumb idea diligently.
This fraud was started in 1987 with the invention that we were running out of landfill space, and so people needed to recycle. But the cost of recycling is more expensive in dollars, time, and isn't any better on the environment. The Energy required to recycle is a lot more wasteful than planting it in the ground and letting nature do its thing (for free). Reason, LA Times, and even the New York Times (back when they were a Newspaper) all wrote and explained this stuff. But still the rubes line up to pay tribute to harming the environment, as long as they get the moral sanctimony of pretending they're making a difference by making everything they claim to care about, worse.