Here at Civitas, we give the idea of government coerced or forced recycling a thorough going over on a regular basis. When you think about how many changes there have been in the last few years over how waste is handled, you see a clear divide in the approaches used.
Back in the crazy 70's recyclers could be lumped into one of two groups, altruistic hippies that wanted to save the planet and free marketeers that wanted to make a buck while saving the planet. Then government entered the scene and began to use tax dollars to pay for recycling. It started out by providing central drop off points were the altruistic crowd could do their part. Not the wisest use of tax dollars but, nonetheless voluntary. Next, government mandated recycling at your home, added new trucks and employees and forced citizens to become unpaid trash sorters.
The free marketeers of recycling may be making a comeback. Consider the story of a company called Recycle Bank. Recyclebank incentivizes recycling on a personal level by using a set of rewards through coupons and what appears to be a greenstamps program.(Anybody remember S&H GS's?) Citizens are rewarded by the volume of recycling to perform.
Check out this article from the Detroit Free Press on the program.
While I am all for incentiving behavior, you have to wonder how long this will last with prices for raw materials at all time lows. At least citizens in towns that use Recyclebank get a little something for their labor.