“The great problem of recycling anything is that whatever it is that you’re after might be extremely dispersed. You can end up epending more energy, more labour, in trying to oncentrate it enough to recycle it than you would expend by simply digging up some new stuff.”
Tim Worstall on the issue of recycling rare metals. The point he makes very well, in my view, is the issue about the scarcity of time. It takes oodles of time for people, even in their own households, to recycle stuff and sort it out, as opposed to acquiring material elsewhere. Now, if the value of the recycled stuff rises sufficiently to make it worth the while of people to recycle it, or the availability of dumping grounds for unwanted stuff declines sharply, the of course recycling will increase.
Everything has a cost. And time is one of the costs that legislators frequently don’t stop to address.