As a result of the drop in oil prices, one other environmentalist pet project is suffering from the competition: recycling. CBS News points out that due to lower oil prices its cheaper for companies who use plastics to make their products from new materials rather than recycled items. That also includes companies like Waste Management or local governments since now they have to pay to have recycled trash transported.
Recycling companies are storing plastic items away waiting for when oil will rebound and then dispose of materials. Governments too are gathering up plastic items from landfills due to reduced space but it will take time before oil prices rebound for it to be worth it for them to have the plastic recycled. Meantime, the only thing they can do is wait. The most common plastic disposed of is the material used in soda bottles in which it costs much less to recycle them as opposed to colored plastic where the market for it has dried up.
Recycling in and of itself is nothing more than a feel good measure to make people think they are doing something good for the environment when, in fact, they are not. It uses more resources to recycle According to the Cato Institute, New York City spends $200 more per ton to recycle than to just treat plastic and other recyclable materials as regular trash. This on top of another $40 per ton to have a company conduct the processing. In this video, magicians and television hosts Penn & Teller go into even more detail as to why recycling is BULLSHIT!