Was one of your resolutions for 2013 to be a little greener? Perhaps you want to make a small step and purchase CFL bulbs or start a small garden, or you want to make a bigger impact and really track your carbon footprint in order to minimize it. A great way to stay on top of these goals is utilizing apps on your smart phone. All apps are available in Apple App Store and three are available on Andriod. We have tested about two dozen apps that aim to keep you green without spending green. We start with personal goals and end with a greater world view of environmental change. Check it out!
Eco Challenge (free):
Challenge yourself in a category that will make you think about your personal material usage. As an example, I picked cotton. Each topic is accompanied with an infographic about the impact of that material. The carbon footprint of conventional cotton versus organic cotton is monumental. The challenge for cotton is to purchase more organic cotton clothes, set a time table for yourself and get going! You can even challenge your friends, anyone care for a dual in water usage?
Calculate your carbon footprint by taking a short survey and then the app helps you create a green plan from recommendations and see how much positive impact you can have on our world.
The Good Guide (free, available on Android)
Learn about the environmental and social responsibility of all kinds of purchases from cleaning products to toys. Simply scan your items with this app and get detailed information on over 65,000 products. The app will even show you what a competing product’s “goodness” is compared to the one you scanned. Also allows you to select the issues you care about to view products that match your values.
Fooducate (free, available on Andriod)
Similar to GoodGuide in that you scan items to learn about them. Rather than telling you how good the company that produces the product, Fooducate educates you about what’s in the product itself. Track your eating and workout habits, and you will get a better sense of how healthy your diet really is.
Household & Family
Recyle List (free)
This app lets you choose a material category for what you want to recycle, from basic recyclables like paper to larger items like automobile parts and tells you where in your area you can recycle. The best part of this app is when you select a material it automatically adds it to a list and creates a local map where you can properly dispose of that material. Great for if you’re doing more than a just a usual bi-weekly recycle.
Bulb Finder (free, available on Android as "Light Bulb Finder")
Do you want to switch from incandescent lightbulbs to more energy and cost efficient bulbs but aren’t sure what bulb to purchase for your light fixtures and where to purchase those bulbs? Lightbulb finder does all the work for you and tells you how much money you will save in the long run by switching based on the kilowatt usage in your zip code.
This app will cost you $0.99 but if you are just starting out your garden it’s definitely worth the price. Who knew that in the Boston area I can plant sweet peppers and parsnips starting in February. In addition to telling you which vegetables can be planted in your zone during each month, iGrowIt features information on preparation, planting and sowing, aftercare and ready to eat (plus a recipe!). Each vegetable is also given a skill level, your thumb will be turning into masterful green in no time!
Paper Karma (free)
Take a picture of your junk mail and this app will unsubscribe you from further mailings. This actually works, talk about cutting down waste!
This app lets you calculate the fuel cost of various routes throughout the United States and also find the most inexpensive gas. It factors the fuel efficiency of your car as well as gas prices, and it also compares drive to flying for trips over 200 miles.
Neighborhood & The World
Locates organic, environmental, and sustainable businesses near your current location. Pick your preference whether that be gluten-free or vegan then press the button to “see goodness nearby” and get lots of positive businesses with ratings, maps and more. Lets you pick between eat, shop and travel.
Find farmer’s markets in your area! This app tells you the days and hours of operation of local farm stands. Unfortunately, there are not many pictures uploaded by users, but that’s where you come in! Upload photos of the fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market and show users the beauty of buying local!
Project Noah (free, available on Andriod)
Its like foursquare, but for animals. If you live in a big city, this app may not be for you. But if you are not living in urban sprawl, this app lets you track the biodiversity where you live. See deer in your backyard last night? Post it! Alternatively, if you are hiking you can use this to track all the animals you saw while on your trip. Missions allow you to document sightings with other people, one popular one is tracking bee sightings throughout NYC.
Which one are you most likely to use? Let us know in the comments!