Re: A lot of kit is "designed" to be thrown away
You remember your Smith, don't you? How about you also remember your Sidgwick and Pigou? Know what they did?
What they did and you're not taking into account is the concept of externalities. In the field of waste recycling, there are several negative externalities. They include the following:
1. Disposal by burial is expensive. We usually end up paying for a lot of it from our taxes, even if we're not the ones burying stuff there. That's just the financial cost. There are others. Let's see them.
2. Burial means there is potentially dangerous stuff in our ground which causes risks to groundwater, which means a more expensive effort needed to protect that, and limits how else we can use the land. Not everything can be done on top of garbage. Now we have less land available for other uses.
3. If we have a demand for a certain amount of the mineral and we're not getting any from recycling, then we're going to mine that amount. We now add all the externalities related to that mining. Some of these minerals are not easy to mine or are mined in countries without environmental regulations which don't bother keeping pollutants in check. That's a large one in itself and there are others we won't list here because we have to stop sometime.
4. Costs of shipping this stuff. You're likely using lithium mined in South America. It's shipped from there to China, made into batteries, and shipped to wherever you are. By recycling lithium in China, you can cut off the South America round trip. If places near you make batteries, you can cut out both trips. If you recycle near you and ship to China, you can ship a lot more lithium since you're not shipping the other stuff, meaning a more efficient ship. That means several things. You pay less for batteries because the shipping is cheaper, and there is less shipping and thus less emitions from those. More externalities reduced.
This is real economics. The invisible hand is fine and all but Smith didn't say that you can do anything you like and it would fix everything. He was quite clear that it did not and that there would be inefficiencies that could not be resolved with market forces alone. He was right.