Recycling as a profitable industry could be in trouble. In Australia they're now stockpiling the waste. In China recycling companies are hitting the wall and may stop importing our precious American trash. Perhaps we should stop burning up all that fossil fuel to send our used paper and metals across the Pacific? That would mean we'd have to do some more work here in North America.
Here's a fine case study: Fairbanks, Alaska. They don't have an economic base that can promote recycling of most wsaste material so it goes into a landfill, just like life in 1960. Perhaps our solid waste needs to treated more like sewage, less like a profit center?
Not all recycling is in financial trouble. Steel and other metal scrap recycling is feeling the same push and pull as the general economy. Recycling short circuits the expensive mining process required for obtaining and processing new ore. in Europe steel packaging leads the list of recycled materials.