The reason recycling is fantastic is because when done correctly, it makes everything better than not. It save on nearly every aspect of the process of manufacturing and bring the products to market while it saves the environment from vast quantities of pollution, much of it highly toxic. The reason recycling is idiotic is because it has been being done correctly at.
... some 20 years ago, Big Waste companies made a deliberate decision to disrupt the then well-functioning dual-stream systems by convincing cities to switch to single-stream recycling. This caused contamination rates to increase and led to the market crunch started by Chinese import restrictions. [Source]
I'll be dating myself by explaining that when I started recycling, we separated paper from cardboard, metals by types, glass by colors, while plastics hadn't been labeled yet with recycle numbers. Once those numbers came in, though, we separated plastics by number too. All of this meant more bins, one for each type of separated material. It took a little longer, but not much. Actually, it was before the days of curbside recycling too. We had to pack it all into our cars and trucks and take it with us to where recycles were accepted. Fortunately for me, that was my local food co-op, where I'd shop after emptying my recycles into the co-op's larger containers. It helped fund the co-op of which I was a member.
When curbside and alleyway single-stream recycling came in, I thought the government was simply paying people to do what I had been doing: carefully sorting everything. I was always concerned with broken glass but figured the moving system was designed to be gentle enough to handle it. In fact, I toured the cities new recycling plant because I was that interested.
Unfortunately, tons of glass breaks in the single-stream system. We must fix that ASAP! There's no excuse not to. Recycling should be absolutely mandatory, and recycling facilities should be constructed on a wartime footing to get the system up and running. We are choking our planet in so many ways it defies explanation other than greed and stupidity (but I'm being redundant).