Archives 13 October 2023

New York’s Airbnb Ban Is Bolstering a Rental Black Market

As few as 2 percent of New York City’s previous 22,000 short-term rentals on Airbnb have been registered with the city since a new law banning most listings came into effect in early September. But many illegal short-term rental listings are now being advertised on social media and lesser known platforms, with some still seemingly being listed on Airbnb itself. The number of short-term listings on Airbnb has fallen by more than 80 percent, from 22,434 in August to just 3,227 by October 1, according to Inside Airbnb, a watchdog group that tracks the booking platform. But just 417 properties have been registered with the city, suggesting that very few of the city’s short-term rentals have been able to get permission to continue operating.

The crackdown in New York has created a “black market” for short-term rentals in the city, claims Lisa Grossman, a spokesperson for Restore Homeowner Autonomy and Rights (RHOAR), a local group that opposed the law. Grossman says she’s seen the short-term rental market pick up steam on places like Facebook since the ban. “People are going underground,” she says. New York’s crackdown on short-term rentals has dramatically reshaped the vacation rental market in the city. People are using sites like Craigslist, Facebook, Houfy, and others, where they can search for guests or places to book without the checks and balances of booking platforms like Airbnb. Hotel prices are expected to rise with more demand.
After the rule change, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company would be shifting attention away from New York, which was once its biggest market.

YouTube Passes Netflix As Top Video Source For Teens

Teens polled by the bank said they spent 29.1% of their daily video consumption time on Google-owned YouTube, beating out Netflix for the first time at 28.7%. Time on YouTube rose since the spring, adding nearly a percentage point, while Netflix fell more than two percentage points. The data point shows that the streaming business is getting more competitive, and highlights YouTube’s strong position as a free provider of online video, especially among young people.

Half a Billion Cheap Electrical Items Go To UK Landfills in a Year, Research Finds

The not-for-profit organisation Material Focus, which conducted the research, said the scale of the issue was huge and they wanted to encourage more recycling. More than half a billion cheaply priced electronic goods were bought in the UK in the past year alone — 16 per second. Material Focus findings showed that of these items, 471m were thrown away. This included 260m disposable vapes, 26m cables, 29m LED, solar and decorative lights, 9.8m USB sticks, and 4.8m miniature fans.

Scott Butler, executive director at Material Focus, described it as “fast tech.” He said: “People should think carefully about buying some of the more frivolous … items in the first place.” He said the items people bought were often “cheap and small,” and that consumers may not realise they contain valuable materials that could be salvaged if recycled. Small electricals can contain precious materials including copper, lithium and stainless steel. These components can be recycled and used in wind turbines, medical devices and electric vehicles. Material Focus said that while people were used to the idea of recycling larger electrical items such as fridges, lots of smaller devices were left unused in houses.

People Send 20 Billion Pounds of “Invisible” E-Waste To Landfills Each Year

One e-toy for every person on Earth — that’s the staggering amount of electric trains, drones, talking dolls, R/C cars, and other children’s gadgets tossed into landfills every year. Some of what most consumers consider to be e-waste — like electronics such as computers, smartphones, TVs, and speaker systems — are usual suspects. Others, like power tools, vapes, LED accessories, USB cables, anything involving rechargeable lithium batteries and countless other similar, “nontraditional” e-waste materials, are less obviously in need of special disposal. In all, people across the world throw out roughly 9 billion kilograms (19.8 billion pounds) of e-waste commonly not recognized as such by consumers.

This “invisible e-waste” is the focal point of the sixth annual International E-Waste Day on October 14, organized by Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum. In anticipation of the event, the organization recently commissioned the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to delve into just how much unconventional e-waste is discarded every year — and global population numbers are just some of the ways to visualize the issue.

According to UNITAR’s findings, for example, the total weight of all e-cig vapes thrown away every year roughly equals 6 Eiffel Towers. Meanwhile, the total weight of all invisible e-waste tallies up to “almost half a million 40 [metric ton] trucks,” enough to create a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam stretching approximately 3,504 miles — the distance between Rome and Nairobi. From a purely economic standpoint, nearly $10 billion in essential raw materials is literally thrown into the garbage every year.