While our quest for the latest and greatest smartphone every year or so is not exactly green nor eco-friendly, there are a few apps you can install on your phone to help green up your life a little bit. I have had an iPhone since they came out (and am still using an older 3GS unit) so I cannot speak of apps available for those with Android phones, but I imagine that with a little digging those users will be able to find many of these exact apps or at least something similar. With the hundreds of thousands of apps available for the iPhone it can be a little daunting to find ones you actually want to use, so I did a little research to get you started. Here are 10 free iPhone apps to help you go green and be more eco-friendly. Links in the article open up iTunes, where you can download each app.
GoodGuide – The GoodGuide mobile app helps users find green and ethical products on the go. Say you are out shopping and you needed to know if an item was truly as eco-friendly as the label said; using GoodGuide you can look it up and get the rundown and ratings on over 120,000 products. By scanning the barcode of any item you can instantly get the information you need to make an informed buying decision. I take issue with some of the ratings they have given products like Clorox Greenworks (or Greenwash (LINK), as I call it), but generally the app is pretty helpful.
Skeptical Science – If you have friends or family who are skeptical about climate change (don’t we all?), then the Skeptical Science app could be your new best friend. This app helps you find out what the peer-reviewed science has to say about global warming, allowing you to search by the skeptic’s argument to find the truth and information for your rebuttal. The app also connects to its website quite often in order to get updates on research and data.
Seafood Watch – If you are a fish eater, you need this app asap. Created by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (an amazing aquarium, if you ever get the chance to go), this app sorts seafood options by “Best Choice,” “Good Alternative” or “Avoid” rankings, and uses your phone’s GPS service to load the correct guide for your area. The new Project FishMap feature lets users add restaurants and seafoods where ocean-friendly, sustainable seafood has been found.
iRecycle – iRecycle is a handy app that everyone should have as it provides information on more than 800,000 recycling and disposal resources. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right place to get rid of those “hard to recycle” items, so it’s good to have iRecycle on your phone to help you out. I previously wrote about iRecycle if you want a little more information.
goDriveGreen – Driving is not green. But with the goDriveGreen app, we can at least do our best to make it as green as possible! By using the GPS in your iPhone and the specs for your specific automobile, the app measures your acceleration, deceleration, and cornering to determine your Green Score. It estimates your fuel usage and carbon emissions while also offering tips and advice for driving more efficiently to increase your Green Score.
Organic Diet Buddy – We all know that we should be buying only organic fruits, veggies, and meat now, but we can’t always do so. Well, the Organic Diet Buddy wants to make sure you do the best you can, so it helps to advise on which fruits and vegetables you should definitely buy organic and which ones there is less of a risk when buying conventionally-grown. By avoiding the produce most contaminated with pesticide residues, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% without too much trouble. Also included in the app is a Farmer’s Market locater, especially helpful if you are on vacation in a strange town and looking for locally-grown organic foods!
Ecosnoop – EcoSnoop is an app that allows corporations, government and communities to encourage energy efficiency and environmental awareness through social networking. It allows us to post environmental concerns as we see them and to find green businesses in our area –- one picture at a time. The app is called EcoSnoop and it blends environmental activism and responsibility with social networking by using the iPhone’s camera and GPS tagging capabilities to report things like leaky fire hydrants or companies wasting electricity to city and state governments, campuses, and businesses.
SimplyOrganic – If you are trying to come up with something delicious and healthy to make for dinner tonight, you better check out the SimplyOrganic app. Hundreds of recipes made with wholesome ingredients is right at your fingertips, so no more excuses for buying crappy takeout food. The app serves as a portal to SimplyOrganic products (coupons, etc.) but it’s pretty useful as a standalone recipe book.
Walk Score – By using the Walk Score iPhone app, you can figure out the walkability of a certain neighborhood or town. Scores for any address are issued between “Walker’s Paradise” and “Car-Dependent”, and the app aims to encourage the development and habitation of walkable neighborhoods. Not much use if you live in the country, but if you are shopping for a new house or moving to a new city, Walk Score can help you choose the most walkable place to live.
EWG Sunscreen Guide – I write about EWG’s Suncreen Guide every year when it comes out, but they also have an app you can put on your iPhone to keep you up-to-date of the safety and effectiveness for over 1,700 different sunscreens. Ratings are based on a compilation of standard industry, government and academic data sources and models that they have constructed over the past seven years. Buying a toxic sunscreen can do more harm to your body than sun damage can, so be sure to shop wisely and use this app when in your favorite store to pick up sunscreen.
There are way more than 10 “green” iPhone apps to choose from, but this list is a good place to start filling up your phone with. If you have a favorite that I missed or a suggestion to add to the list, please feel free to add it in the comments section for everyone else to check out!
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