Well, A lot has to do with your definitions..
What is a great deal? Does subsidized recycling count? etc. etc. etc.
Here is a good summary.http://earth911.com/news/2009/06/22/tru ... recycling/
If you have to pay 10x to sort, and 10x to transport something...do you really consider that economic value?
PS. Ever think about why your bottled water doesn't come in a glass container?
Pick up a case of water at Walmart and what do you notice...pretty light...the plastic bottles are so thin, you can crinkle them up like a tissue.
Why? It costs money to transport that container. The lighter the container, the less fuel used in transportation. The less raw materials used...the less plastic that needs to be recycled.
Glass is heavy. Glass requires huge amounts of energy to form.
That weight makes it expensive to collect, expensive to ship, and expensive to remelt.
Can it be recycled? Sure. Perhaps I didn't really make my point initially. What I was getting at is that it is 1000x better not to waste on consumerism than to give yourself the false sense of "doing good" by recycling.
Steel is "recycled" at something close to 90% in the US depending at what source you look at.http://www.steel.org/Sustainability/Ste ... cling.aspx
While that is not a bad thing, don't kid yourself...it takes a great deal of heat to melt steel.
It is still 100x better to keep using something than to delude yourself into thinking that recycling is an excuse for throw-away design.
I was talking to a farmer about ethanol.
He went on about the affect on buying machinery, and helping the economy of the region, etc. etc. etc.
This is of course a false analogy. You can do the same thing by just giving people money. Wasting money producing an energy source that requires more input energy than you get out is still a waste...no matter the social benefits of your waste.
The same could be said about any labor. Well, if you pay this garbage man $50,000 to pick up glass, look at the investment he will make in his community, and the economic multiplying affect...
Heck if that is a good idea...why not hire two guys and pay them $50K...just have them try and pick up some more glass...but don't worry...its not the cost of the raw material we're interested in...its the social benefit.
How about 4 guys...why not 20 guys...Why not just pay everyone in the country $50K as long as they spend 2 hours a day sorting and recycling...just think of the 300 million times multiplying affect of that $50K....we will all be billionaires overnight