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The troubling truth about our country's recycling programs

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The troubling truth about our country's recycling programs

Imagine diligently separating your recyclables, placing them into the green bin as instructed, and then discovering it’s all for naught. That’s the frustrating reality a Redditor faced, sparking a conversation on r/Apartmentliving about the disheartening state of recycling in their complex. The green dumpster was just a facade, and the company didn’t even offer residential recycling. It begs the question: Is anyone else’s complex out there lying about something so obvious?

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Green garbage bins (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

The struggle for eco-friendly practices in rented spaces

This isn’t an isolated incident. Across the nation, renters find themselves handcuffed by landlords who block eco-friendly practices like gardening or air-drying laundry. Yet, there’s hope. In the U.S., 74 million people live under homeowners associations where there’s room to navigate or even alter the rules for the betterment of the community.

The discourse on Reddit resonates with many who share similar struggles. One user lamented their building’s failed recycling attempt due to contamination, and another mentioned the absence of recycling services altogether, leaving the responsibility on individuals to transport recyclables to centers.

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The troubling truth about our country's recycling programs

Blue recycling bins (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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A report rings the alarm on recycling

In Washington, D.C., a report by The Recycling Partnership sheds light on the dire state of U.S. residential recycling. A mere 21% of recyclables actually get recycled. The report, “State of Recycling: Present and Future of Residential Recycling in the U.S.,” reveals the gap between current practices and the five pillars of an efficient recycling system. It’s a call to action for policymakers, companies and communities to bridge these gaps.

The troubling truth about our country's recycling programs

Green recycling bin (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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The stark divide in America’s waste management

Under-recycled materials: A staggering 76% of recyclables end up in the trash at home. Only 73% of households have recycling access, with a significant disparity between single-family (85%) and multifamily homes (37%). Participation is low, with only 43% of households recycling, and even then not to full potential.

State-by-state disparities: Some states like Alabama and Mississippi recycle less than 10%, while others like California and New York exceed 30%. The report suggests that extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies could elevate recycling rates significantly.

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The million-ton loss: Eleven states, including some with high recycling rates, lose over a million tons of recyclables each year. Local investment solutions are crucial for revamping the recycling infrastructure.

The troubling truth about our country's recycling programs

Recycling bins (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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A call to action for policymakers, companies and community leaders

The Recycling Partnership’s Chief System Optimization Officer, Cody Marshall, emphasizes the need for comprehensive action. Investing in access to recycling services and improving communication can lead to substantial progress. The report urges:

Policymakers: Adopt EPR to fund recycling improvements.

Companies: Design recyclable packaging and invest in closing the system’s gaps.

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Community leaders: Use the report’s data to enhance recycling efforts through education and engagement.

The troubling truth about our country's recycling programs

Plastic bottles to be recycled (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

The time to act is now

The report is an urgent call for action. Systemic change is a slow process, but the road map is clear. It’s time for concerted efforts to ensure recycling fulfills its role in waste reduction and resource conservation.

Kurt’s key takeaways

The stories shared by individuals on platforms like Reddit aren’t just tales of frustration; they’re a rallying cry for change. From the deceptive green dumpsters to the stark disparities in recycling access, the issues are as real as they are widespread. But there’s a silver lining – the collective voice of communities and the actionable insights from reports like The Recycling Partnership’s are powerful catalysts for change. It’s a reminder that every effort counts, and together, we can turn the tide on the recycling conundrum we find ourselves in.

What changes do you think are necessary to make a real impact as far as recycling in this country? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

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Leak: the Asus ROG Ally X will have twice the battery at 80Wh and two USB-C ports

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Leak: the Asus ROG Ally X will have twice the battery at 80Wh and two USB-C ports

While we already knew the Ally X was shooting for double the battery life by including a larger pack, VideoCardz has leaked marketing materials that confirm it’s literally doubling the capacity to 80 watt-hours, up from the original 40Wh pack. And yet, the handheld only weighs an additional 70g (2.5oz) and is just 5mm thicker, a bit thinner than my hands-on estimate. It’s 36.9mm (1.45 inches) thick in total, versus the 32mm (1.27 inches) of the original.

That’s partially due to a thinner fan design: 23 percent smaller, with 50 percent thinner fins, according to the leak, yet with 10 percent increased airflow.

Aside from battery, the most welcome spec might be the addition of a second USB-C port with USB4 speeds. VideoCardz says it replaces the proprietary eGPU port that Asus included previously but doesn’t say if we can charge from both the top and bottom now. (I would expect so since Asus taped up both the top and bottom of the engineering prototype I touched to keep me from sussing ports out.)

As we’ve reported, the Ally X shouldn’t have much increased performance over the original, with the same Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip and seven-inch 120Hz VRR screen, but VideoCardz also corroborates the rumor that it’ll come with 24GB of faster LPDDR5 memory, giving it an additional 8GB of overhead to share with the GPU that could possibly lead to a slight improvement in games.

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Stop thinking about retirement by tapping tech to rediscover what gets you excited

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Stop thinking about retirement by tapping tech to rediscover what gets you excited

Even if you’re retired or well into your career, it’s never too late to learn a new skill. And because you don’t need to go back into a physical classroom to learn those skills anymore (something that can be very anxiety-inducing for some people), taking the leap to study may be much less daunting when you can do it online.

Whether you’re looking for a career change, want to stay relevant at your current job or are looking for something to do post-retirement, why not try something new?

There are so many websites that offer low-cost or even free courses where you can advance your skills on your own time without having to borrow thousands of dollars or change your routine and dedicate yourself to it full time.

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Two women looking at computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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What are the highest-paying jobs in 2024?

If one of the reasons you’re looking to learn a new skill is that you’re interested in a higher-paying job, that’s understandable. Or maybe someone younger than you is asking for advice, and you want to give them some tips on what they can pursue. Perhaps you’re just curious about what the highest-paying jobs are these days. Whatever the reason, it’s good to be current on these questions.

Though year after year doctors, lawyers, accountants and electrical engineers are at the top of the list of the highest-paying jobs, that’s not always the most realistic career path for everyone, especially if you’re looking to skill up quickly for a career change or a hobby. In either case – or maybe you’re just curious – here are the highest-paying jobs in 2024, according to several sources like Yahoo! Finance, Indeed and U.S. News Money.

  1. Loan officer: $192K
  2. IT manager: $164K
  3. Financial manager: $140K
  4. Marketing manager: $140K
  5. Sales manager: $131K
  6. Software developer: $127K
  7. Computer network architect: $127K
  8. Actuary: $114K
  9. Information security analyst: $112K
  10. Scrum master: $106K
  11. Data scientist: $104K
  12. Tax manager: $130K
  13. Real estate analyst: $90K
  14. HR manager: $79K
  15. Virtual assistant: $75K
  16. Digital marketer: $67K
  17. Life insurance agent: $67K
  18. Freelance writer: $59K
  19. Customer service representative: $59K
  20. Translate/interpreter: $58K
  21. Graphic designer: $56K
  22. Online fitness trainer: $53K

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Online fitness trainer at work (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Do you need an education to do these jobs?

The quick answer? No, not necessarily. But it will take some skill leveling up. You can get some of these roles by educating yourself online or enrolling in online courses. And these courses don’t typically ask you for a degree to enroll.

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Why? They understand that a person might want to learn new skills for many reasons. Of course, if getting a higher-paid job or wanting a promotion is your reason for learning a new skill in the first place, then certainly having some college education may help you land one of these jobs sooner.

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A woman taking an online course (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Where to take online courses

 There are several excellent online platforms where you can continue your education, acquire new skills and explore various subjects. Here are some of the top online learning platforms.

edEX: Ideal for tech enthusiasts and career-minded individuals seeking courses from top universities on subjects like AI, coding and data analytics.

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Coursera: Perfect for those looking for university-level courses, specializations and degrees from renowned institutions worldwide, with financial aid options available.

Udacity: Ideal for aspiring programmers and tech enthusiasts seeking hands-on experience and industry connections through Nanodegree programs.

LinkedIn Learning: Suitable for professionals looking to advance their careers with courses on leadership, marketing and project management with personalized recommendations and LinkedIn integration.

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A woman taking an online course (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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What if I am late in my career or near retirement?

Then, yes, you can take one of these courses (or many of them). Again, the whole purpose of online learning is to make it accessible to everyone. So, even though there may be other students in your cohort who are younger or at a totally different stage of their careers or their lives, don’t let that hold you back.

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Learning a new skill, even if you’ve been in your career for decades, can help you stay on top of your game as new tech and trends roll in. If you’re a parent or a grandparent, learning a new skill can help you relate more to your children as they grow and pursue their careers. And, if you’re near retirement or already retired, learning a new skill helps keep the mind sharp and maybe even gives you the education you need to start a new venture.

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Man on his phone and computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

How to choose the best online course for you

Choosing the best online course depends on several factors. Understand the reputation of the course, the length of time you have to complete it, whether courses are asynchronous or synchronous, your learning styles, budget, etc. 

You can look at reviews, talk to students who have taken the course, and find out who in your network has attended one of these programs and ask about their job prospects. Again, it all depends on why you’re taking the course in the first place. If you just want to do it for fun, perhaps you’ll join a course taught by a favorite celebrity on MasterClass.

Learning from home

A woman learning from home (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Kurt’s key takeaways

Learning new skills isn’t only for recent high school or college grads. It’s for anyone. Going “back to school” has never been easier with online courses. No matter your age and your intention, there is a course – and platform – out there for you.

Have you or anyone you know advanced any of your skills using one of the methods above? What about a friend who took an online course as a hobby? What was the experience like? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

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Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Microsoft Bing issue takes down Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and ChatGPT search features

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Microsoft Bing issue takes down Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and ChatGPT search features

Search capabilities for ChatGPT, Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and other platforms aren’t working properly right now due to a Microsoft outage that appears to be related to the Bing application programming interface (API). Sites and services are either completely unavailable or only intermittently responding at the time of publication.

The issues — which began around 3AM ET — appear to be linked to Bing’s API and any service that relies upon it. While Microsoft’s own web search engine Bing was also seemingly affected earlier, according to Techcrunch, the service now appears to be correctly loading search results.

Search engines like DuckDuckGo relying on Bing’s API are displaying error messages.
Image: DuckDuckGo

Other search engines like DuckDuckGo and Ecosia, which rely on Bing’s API, are unable to load any search results. Microsoft’s Copilot is also experiencing similar issues, displaying a loading loop that prevents users from accessing the service. ChatGPT, which allows Plus subscribers to perform web searches, is similarly displaying an error message when users attempt to make a search enquiry.

Microsoft has acknowledged the loading issues with its Copilot service, saying it’s “working to isolate the cause of the issue.” Meanwhile, Microsoft’s service health platform doesn’t flag any other service outages currently. OpenAI and Ecosia have confirmed that they are experiencing issues with their platform’s search features, and OpenAI says it’s also investigating the issue.

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