Recycling is often decried as being less efficient than just throwing everything away (like before, in the Bad Old Days).
However, recycling provides an immunomeme for the ridiculously wasteful society, with insane use of petroleum to make throwaway packaging and so on and so on.
But, thanks to the recycling (immuno)meme, we can make the counterattack/counterdeployment: "Hey, it's okay because we are RECYCLING". And when one counters that it's not doing any good or that there is still a huge amount of waste or that very little post-consumer material is actually being used, the immunomeme may be deployed again in the fashion of "RECYCLING will work, we just aren't doing it seriously enough, or the people who should be participating still aren't doing it, [or the latest is] there is contamination in the recycled waste stream [because of the bad people who are being bad citizens and not recycling properly]". So of course with all things it comes down to "education" of the "bad people" who need to be "more sophisticated" and participate properly in the grand scheme that if everybody participates sincerely, will of course work.
And, as will many (if not all) immunomemes there is much question-begging, like "of course we need to continue to waste resources", i.e., status quo apologism, and strawmen everywhere the likes of which the magical Land of Oz has never seen.