So often motivation is based on a reward, or the potential for one. My dog will sit when asked because generally treats are given. People comment on a blog or face book post because they are told a winner will be selected.
Unfortunately sometimes life's rewards aren't immediate, you don't always get your treat for doing the deed. In the long run I'm convinced they'll usually pay off; but we aren't always wise enough to link the deed and the "pay off", we tend to be to short sited and forget.
The nice thing about recycling is that there is always a positive result. Our goal (which is often met and exceeded) is to make the payoff as immediate as possible. You recycle a ton of corrugated boxes and you are paid and you saved 17 trees. The monetary payment is a great reward for the company but doesn't typically motivate the staff to participate. Some companies incentivize their staff by making a reward for them; they publish their recycling results and impact, recognize the stand out recyclers, develop green teams, and some great programs even use prizes as motivation to keep the trend growing. They motivate their staff because the more participation the more positive results they see.
The big payoff that everyone receives is often not linked; the future of our planet and our children and their children. We should recycle because this planet isn't ours. It doesn't belong to us we are just tasked with taking care of it for OUR future generations. I've heard before and I'm not looking to misquote (or take credit) but I sure don't want to be the one to have to explain what happened to all the pretty trees on my watch. I would like to be able to show the positive changes my generation made not the deterioration. There is so much to be thankful for on our beautiful planet, take a minute to recognize it's beauty and decide what role you're going to take in keeping it that way. So, I guess there is a whole lot in it for all of us.