When we take the time and trouble to sort garbage for recycling, we feel that we're doing our part. When stores set aside space for bottles and cans so that they can be recycled, they are doing their part. People are used to going through the steps required in order to make recycling work.
I am 13, and the middle school curriculum constantly features material about pollution, species extinction, rain-forest elimination and global warming. You can hardly complete a book report without covering those subjects. Everyone knows that we are running out of landfill space and are damaging our environment.
We want to cooperate with recycling, but the government won't let us. The government must do its part so that we can do ours.
Apparently NY schools are overrun with left-wing propaganda. My brother is going to reconsider homeschooling if he finds out that his kid's school is teaching this crap. Volokh is another recycling skeptic.
We are not running out of landfill space. The environment is improving, not getting worse. Global warming may ultimately turn out to be a good thing. If recycling really made sense, then the recyclers could separate the materials at the dump.