It would cost the city a massive amount of money to hire a large army of people to go through mountains of recyclable items and sort them into metals, glass, and pulpable material (cardboard, paper). It would cost additional money to store the material while it waits for pickup by various scrap buyers. Tin and steel is so cheep, it would cost much more to recycle than to mine and process new ore.
I wonder if it all ends up in a landfill. This would save the city a great deal of money. Maybe when I have nothing else to do one day, I'll follow a recycle truck and see where it goes.
I'm 100% behind recycling the citys' trash: the last place I want it is in the landfills, which are "past full" last time I heard (at the start of the Bush Oil War). If it really does go to landfills, this is a double problem: not only are the landfills holding reusable material, but the existance of the recycle program may be inducing people to consume in greater quantities items they believe are being recycled. I for one have slightly less guilt discarding all that packaging I receive when I buy items, when I believe that it is being reused.
But I still wonder. Where the hell does it REALLY go?