Recycling is a great idea, but economics control much of this. Basically, if there is no market to purchase the recycled material, then it does not get recycled. Paper does well, also non-ferrous metal (aluminum) and glass because there is usually someone who wants to buy these for reuse. There are seven kinds of plastic, but only Number 1 and Number 2 plastics are recycled in large amounts. The number is usually located on the bottom of the container.
In Virginia, state law requires all localities to recycle 25% of their MSW. This law was passed to help extend the life of the landfills, but the problem continues.