Cut the trash, already. It's time to clean up your act.
It's 2016 and there's only a handful of places around the world working on becoming top recycling contenders. Japan's Kamikatsu is the closest to achieving being 100% waste free. The town of 1,700 residents set a goal in 2003 to be completely free of waste by 2020, and they're on track.
The socio-environmental goal to go waste-free is also an initiative in San Francisco, Berkeley, and some mysterious town Italy. All locations are roughly 80% waste free at this point. It's just the matter of how they're achieving the standard.
Kamikatsu uses 34 different sorting bins for individual residents to organize their washed trash while San Fran and Berkeley probably go about their sorting the way LA does, I would guess. (We use one bin for all recyclables, not that you asked.) It's not exactly mentioned in the article, but when I visit friends in NorCal, they definitely don't have 34 bins to sort clean recyclables into.
Why isn't recycling more prevalent in the US in 2016? City Lab says a lack of competition. The waste management company, 'Allied Waste' is everywhere in the US. They profit more from landfills than recycling and no one's around to challenge them. Under the law of economics, the hypothesis seems very plausible since they are pretty much every where in the US.