The Social Capital Project

Have a lot of stuff you no longer need or want but is still in a good enough shape to be used? Well, you can take inspiration from The Social Capital Project which is one person’s idea to get rid of things she no longer wants. Instead of disposing of her stuff by throwing it out she is giving it away to a good home which does a good thing.

I have a lot of great stuff. Most of it I don’t need. I started The Social Capital Project to help me find homes for my stuff. I didn’t want my stuff to end up in a landfill, most of it is still awesome and not ready for the bin. I conceived of The Social Capital Project as a kind of “barter” system where I would offer up my stuff and in exchange the person receiving the item does something nice in their community to increase social capital.

How does it work? It’s very simple. I post an item up for grabs. You do something nice for someone or your community and comment about it under the item. Then you get the item. In short: You get free stuff. I give away my stuff. And the world gets to be a bit better. Yay!

More info can be de found at The Social Capital Project.

Thanks to Dan!

TerraCycle Helps Schools Recycle and Learn

TerraCycle is a company that wants us to rethink waste. They collect materials that would be sent to landfills and use them to create new products thereby creating less waste filling up the landfills.

Here in Canada they have been quite successful with their school programs – and have given money back to schools that have been good waste collectors. They have successfully diverted one million drink pouches from landfills in Canada alone and turned them into useful products.

Across Canada over 2,700 schools, non-profits and community groups have joined together to help collect the one million pieces. Exactly how much is one million drink pouches? It is enough to cover nine hockey rinks or 33 basketball courts. Students, teachers and community members from almost 3,000 communities across Canada are working together to assure this packaging is no longer waste and can be given new life by TerraCycle.

“It gives the students a chance to participate and see results for their actions. We can collect waste and get paid for it,” says Sandra Ross, parent volunteer at William S. Patterson P.S. in Clandeboye, Manitoba.

TerraCycle is upcycling and recycling the packaging collected by the Drink Pouch Brigade members into a range of eco-friendly consumer products that should be in stores within the next 6 to 12 months. TerraCycle can turn the pouches into everything from upcycled pencil cases to park benches!

Check out TerraCycle’s website.

Shipyards to Wind Farms

A proposal making the rounds in the UK calls for modifying shipyards (which aren’t doing so well in the current economy) into modern wind farms. A good reuse of industrial space.

On a visit to Newcastle, the Liberal Democrat leader said that disused shipyards should be upgraded to allow them to produce the new equipment.

Under a Lib Dem plan, all port authorities on the North Sea and Irish Sea would be able to bid for a share of a £400m pot to convert shipyards into wind turbine plants.

Clegg said: “We need to make sure we come out of this recession with a rebalanced and green economy.

“New offshore turbines, with blades the size of the London Eye, need to be built and launched from modern docks, so we need to upgrade our shipyards to take advantage of this massive opportunity.

“Just imagine the docks and shipyards along the coastline of Britain coming to life and leading the world in this new technology.

Keep reading at The Guardian.

The Race is On! Speed Composting is a Go!

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Or in reality, our waste from consuming can be repurposed and turned into useful resources.

If anyone knows that there’s value in trash, it’s Waste Management — the big waste hauler collects 66 million tons of it every year. So the company has teamed up with a small venture-backed company that has developed a system that can break down some of that trash fast and turn it into natural gas, electricity, compost or all of the above, making some of that trash even more valuable.

Waste Management announced today it has invested in Harvest Power and will develop projects with the company. Harvest builds giant digesters — think of them as cow stomachs — that speed up the composting process. By creating conditions that the bugs that break down organic matter thrive in — a little warmth, a little moisture — and mixing it up to keep the process going, Havest can speed the natural composting process to six to eight weeks from double that. The output? No hamburgers, milk or leather, but otherwise the same as what you’d get from a cow: natural gas and good fertilizer.

Keep reading at Forbes.

Old Jeans, New Insulation

Good news everybody! Your old pants could be worth more than you thought!

Students at University of Memphis have been collecting used denim for insulation in housing for Habitat for Humanity. So hang on to your old clothes so you can make somebody else’s house a little warmer.

Read more.

“It’s a project called ‘Cotton: From Blue to Green,’” explained Angie Dunlap, advisor for the student group. “The denim actually gets recycled into insulation that’s donated for housing for rebuilding communities.”

Many of those communities were hit by Hurricane Katrina, and many of the homes will be built by Habitat for Humanity, explained Brad Robb, vice president of communications for the Cotton Board.

“[The recycled cotton] is environmentally friendly,” said Robb, whose organization works with the program. “Not only is it just as good as regular insulation, you don’t have to use gloves. It’s not itchy, so that’s a plus.”

He said recycled cotton adds up to a lot of insulation.

“[It takes] roughly about 500 average size jeans for an average size house, around 1600 feet,” Robb explained.