This Week in Sharing: The Recycling of Cities, Clothes, & Waste

Want to use your iPhone to find out what's going on in your neighborhood?: "Jabberly isn’t just another location-based service like what you would get with Blipboard, Foursquare, or even something like Yelp. It believes that it can be used as a place where consumers who are social media savvy can discuss and share inside information about people and places that they patronize frequently and in real life. ... Jabberly isn’t a networking service. It says that there are three “key technological features” that make it stand out from anyone else: instant feedback, peer-to-peer and geosynchronous locating technology, and a broader and deeper social web tie-in."

Want to know how Houston, Texas, is going to solve its recycling problem?: "The city has a fairly dismal recycling rate of 14%, caused in part by the fact that the city doesn’t charge residents for trash and recycling services, so recycling bins aren’t available to all residents. ... Instead of trying to overhaul local culture and regulation, the city is working on an ambitious plan to build the first total material resource recovery facility--an innovation that would allow residents to toss all their trash into a single bin, let technology to do all the sorting, and emerge in the end with usable products. The Total Reuse initiative is one of 20 finalists in the Mayor’s Challenge, a Bloomberg Philanthropies competition that will fund innovative ideas in local government."

Want to see how one Buffalo, New York, neighborhood is coming back to life?: "...in the last few years, the neighborhood known as 'Larkinville' has reemerged as a hub of economic activity. The once devastated neighborhood now posesses a growing collection of public space, mixed-use initiatives and offices. It's the city’s most unexpected and perhaps most successful urban development initiative in decades. ... Helped by over $1 million in donations from First Niagara as well as state assistance, [Howard] Zemsky had the neighborhood's streetscape redesigned, then redeveloped a collection of smaller structures into offices and apartments. He turned a former gas station into a trendy lunch spot and centered everything around a new public space called Larkin Square." 

The new Larkin Square. Photo used courtesy of the Larkin Development Group.

Want to understand why the new Washington state bike tax could be a good thing?: "Last week Democrats in the Washington state legislature introduced a $10 billion transportation package with a number of revenue elements. According to the Seattle Times, the proposal increased the gas tax by 10 cents every five years until it reached nearly half a buck per gallon, created a 'car-tab tax' for .7 percent of a car's value, and a $25 sales fee on bicycles that cost more than $500. The latter item was included as 'a nod to motorists who complain that bicyclists don’t pay their fair share.' ... there is an inherent value to a bike tax like the one proposed in Washington as an important starting point in an inevitable discussion about sharing road costs. For decades a $4 excise tax in Colorado Springs has helped the city leverage federal matching grants. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, a major proponent of livable cities, has said the riding community would be 'better off' with a small fee."

Want to clean out your closets and recycle some old clothes?: "Take-back programs are the most efficient form of recycling. Returning apparel to its maker raises its chances of re-use, or re-purpose. So, it’s good to see two more retailers getting into circularity: H&M and North Face. North Face is installing Clothes the Loop bins in 10 stores in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. And they’re prepared to accept not only North Face clothing. The material is going to I:CO recycling, where it will be resold or recycled into insulation, carpet padding, and stuffing for toys. H&M is putting in 'Long live fashion!' boxes at stores in 48 markets. In return for returning, customers get 15% off their next purchase. They can leave two bags a day."

Want to participate in Open Education Week, March 11-15?: "The OpenCourseWare Consortium organized Open Education Week to raise awareness about open source, open education, and open educational resources. Participants include open textbook organizations, academic institutions from around the world, and other valuable open education ogranizations. All events are free and open to everyone."

What can you do?

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