Here is some actually useful info on effective carbon offset companies. I know that offsets aren't recycling, and I had disregarded offsets as a scam. However, now there are standards that allow you to know that the green house gas reduction wouldn’t have happened without your purchase. So, now it is easy to buy offsets when you decide to fly, drive, or even just use electricity. Green America has some actual recommendations:
NativeEnergy’s WindBuilders program sells offsets to finance new wind projects. More than half of offset purchases worldwide support renewable energy projects and displace coal-fired electricity. Many projects lack the capital they need to get built.
3Degrees offers offsets from wind facilities in northeastern China and India.
TerraPass offsets support methane capture at landfills from Maine to South Dakota.
CarbonNeutral Company offers offsets from a project that provides seed funding to a pilot solar lighting scheme for midwives in rural India. Their partner is the amazing Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India.
Both the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) and Green-e Climate program require their member retailers to ensure that any reduction in greenhouse gases sold as a carbon offset is "real, verified, permanent, additional, and unique." Basically, you want to know that the reduction wouldn’t have happened without your purchase.