During the second Presidential debate a question was asked along the lines of, "What would you ask the American people to sacrifice to help further the good of the Country?"
Naturally, both candidates totally dodged the question. What they could have suggested were incentive-based recycling programs. For example, for every pound of recycled material turned in, the donor could receive a certain credit to spend at the grocery store. Something tangible to really encourage people to help out.
Obviously this would be very cost-prohibitive currently, but a program where you can save $1,000 and give it to the US Solar Program, the government would come out and install a 1Kw solar array on your roof.
I think if we were asked to do something worthy even without immediate incentive or reward, most people would take the time and energy to make that sacrifice.