Believe it or not, there are cities around the US that do a significant amount of recycling when it comes to their trash, and it's normal. The local government in these cities don't charge you extra for it either. In Denver, they still deliver milk and orange juice to a box on your porch, but that's for another day.

When I moved to Lawton, it was the first time living in a sizable city without a recycling program. I get it, it costs money up front, but that's usually offset by scheduling between trash and recycle days. Plus it saves on land and dirt costs at the landfill as people tend to make their trash smaller. I once lived in a small town of 25k people in Northern Oklahoma. Even they, out in the middle of nowhere, had a recycling program. Granted, you had to drop it off at the recycling center yourself, but people were happy to do so... but what happens to all that stuff when it hits the processor?

I used to think it was just baled up and shipped to China for processing. And believe it or not, as stupidly expensive as that sounds, that's exactly what we used to do until China stood up and said "Stop sending us your trash." With a billion people of their own producing garbage, it's understandable they'd only take on their own mess for cleaning.

If you'd like to go more in depth about these unique and interesting processes, search YouTube for the Dirty Jobs episode on recycling. Mike Rowe gets dirty, or course, but he also opens your eyes to how this gnarly job gets done.