For awhile I was a recycling zealot. I really gave people a hard time when I couldn't find a recycling bin at their home. But the more I learned about recycling and it's limitations - only certain materials, only in certain amounts, and often while expending more energy than it takes to create new materials - I opened my eyes to the greater picture.
All of your stuff matters. Not just the stuff in the recycling bin. Think about owning something forever before you buy it - think about your trash can disappearing forever. If there's no trash, you have a lot more stuff than you thought! So, buy less, and what you do buy, plan to keep in your life.
ReUse is the more efficient, overachieving cousin of ReCycle. Think about objects as transitional tools - what holds your flatware one day may organize your garage tools a few years down the road, and end up housing seedlings or sorting sand in the sandbox. Check out MadLab, featured in this article, a local-to-me shop that produces beautiful examples of ReUse in MontClair, NJ.