Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Garbage turns into gold

I found this interesting report at trend spotter Cassandra Daily. A great way to start living more sustainable:

Urban residents worldwide generate 1.3 billion tons of garbage per year. At this rate, The World Bank estimates that annual waste tonnage will reach 2.2 billion by 2025. To reduce this level, new services that encourage city dwellers to alert others of unwanted, but still usable, items have emerged, thereby upcycling potential waste to keep it out of landfills.
Goedzak: Too often, people throw away items in good condition rather than donating or selling them. To prevent this, Simon Akkaya of Dutch design studio Waarmakers created Goedzak, a translucent bag with a yellow stripe that signals to passersby that the contents have value. People are encouraged to fill Goedzaks (which means “do-gooder” in Dutch, and combines the words for “good” and “bag”), and leave them on curbs for others. Akkaya and his partner Maarten Heijltjes also are piloting a program with a chain of secondhand stores in Amsterdam, through which bags are collected and the items within them can be resold or recycled.

Trashswag: Trashswag is a Toronto-based website and app that crowdmaps items and materials that have been abandoned on curbs. Users upload photos of disposed goods, write accompanying descriptions, and pin them on a map. There’s also an option to report objects via email or Twitter with the hashtag #trashswag. By signing up for email alerts, users can discover what’s currently available in their areas. Founder Gavin Cameron came up with the idea when working on a project with artists who texted each other pictures and addresses of useful items left on the street. Cameron hopes to expand the “Craigslist for dumpster divers” to other cities.

ReBountyReBounty is an app that lets New Yorkers list and find items they no longer want or have spotted on the street. Much like with Trashswag, users can upload pictures and descriptions to the site, through the app, or via email. They also can receive alerts to stay informed about unwanted goods found by others. What sets ReBounty apart, however, is the ability to contact item owners directly, thereby allowing for a wider—and potentially more valuable—variety of objects to be posted. The app, still in beta, won Best App for City Crowdsourcing at Reinvent Green, a sustainability hackathon where it was created last year.

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