Most claims of environmental good from recycling are myths. Recycling often uses more resources than it saves.
Malthus will always be associated with the idea of a social and economic trap, in which population grows faster than food production. But Malthus did not believe in a population apocalypse, as many of his followers do today.
This essay, "Eight Great Myths of Recycling," by Daniel K. Benjamin, exposes the errors and falsehoods underlying the rhetoric. It clarifies the appropriate role of recycling, based on history and market relationships.