"Take back" legislation in Europe is driving car makers to vastly improve recyclability (and recycling), as noted in articles in the NYT (9/19 HT Env Law) and Grist (9/20). Grist explains the "take back" laws which require manufacturers to assume end-of-life responsibility for the disposal of appliances, cars and certain other products. The New York Times argues that U.S. companies are lagging in recyclability work:
["Take back" legislation] is definitely not a cost of doing business in the United States, where such "extended producer responsibility" laws are not on the legislative agenda. "The U.S. has generally failed to match Europe in making producers responsible for their products, in large part because of its zealous overreliance on voluntary, market-based approaches," said Charles Griffith, auto project director for the Ecology Center, an environmental advocacy group based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Meanwhile, the Kol-Chai listserv of Jewish environmentalists is mildly buzzing about more run-of-the-mill recycling, e.g. at Jewish schools and synagogues.
For an excellent Orthodox article on recycling, there is a Hebrew article in Techumin (Hebrew) by Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer. This article looks in detail esp at the rules of bal tashkhit ("do not destroy") as they apply to various recycling scenarios. Rabbi Bechhofer argues that recycling is a discretionary positive commandment. He also offers an in-depth analysis of whether and when recycling of waste is required in order to avoid the negative command of bal tashkhit.
Rabbi Bechhofer also taped a teaching (shiur 98), Reversing Bal Tashchis: Recycling, which you may find at your local Orthodox school, yeshiva or maybe by mail order. ($5 each but soon to be on-line for free)
I also came across a sweet, idiosyncratic sermon by Rabbi Adilman. He cites Jewish sources on the reuse ("recycling") of various ritual items, such as the lulav , tzitzit (fringes), and foods, and he advocates reusing yahrzeit candles. Also, you may be interested in the Torah recycling network. Here, again, instead of "recycling" they might more accurately say reuse. Recycling of materials requires a significant amount of reprocessing, often with much attendant pollution. More environmentally sound are programs to reuse things, whether underutilized Torah scrolls or beverage containers, as with Israel's bottle bill program.
PS The Grist article also refers to the European law, "Restrictions on Hazardous Substances", which clamps down on lead, mercury (aka quicksilver), hexavalent chromium, PBBs and PBDEs (e.g. flame retardants). Reportedly, some U.S. businesses are not planning well for the European toxics use reduction deadline. The law is pushing manufacturers like Intel and Hitachi to make lead free electronics equipment.