Sadly, just as land conservation and species preservation efforts have largely failed to stem rates of deforestation and extinctions, so too has the recycling movement failed miserably to stem the tide of resource wasting and pollution. The brutal truth is that individualized “recycling” in the context of municipal solid waste management barely makes a dent in the throughput of materials in the global economy. Despite earnest efforts by many, resource consumption and pollution is increasing, and at an increasing rate.
.... Samantha MacBride summed it up well in Recycling Reconsidered: larger waste streams had been rendered invisible, and individualized responsibility for waste and recycling had co-opted more meaningful approaches. UPSTREAM focused on producer responsibility as a paradigm shift that could, in theory, address the problems at the source.