Smartphones might not be the most sustainable devises on the planet. But at least they offer dozens of free apps to help you live a greener lifestyle. Here are my personal favorites:
1. Paper Karma: This free app allows you to opt out of catalogs and junkmail just by snapping a picture with your smartphone. I already subscribe to Catalog Choice and all the other “do not mail” services, but I still keep getting pet care catalogs meant for a previous homeowner who apparently ran a dog-washing service called “Le Pooche” out of my basement.
2. Recycle Bank: You know how much I love Recycle Bank. Use this app to track your points and search for rewards on the go.
3. iRecycle by Earth911: Just select the item you want to recycle and this app will tell you your closest location.
4. Dirty Dozen: The must-have produce shopping app from Environmental Working Group
5. Seafood Watch: A similar app for seafood – make the best purchasing and ordering decisions for sustainably caught fish.
6. Locavore: Find local, in season food in your area including nearby farmer’s markets
8. Label Look-up: So that product has an “Eco Logo” or “Fragrance Free” label. But what does that really mean, if anything? This app will tell you in a pinch.
And now for the worst…
1. Good Guide: It’s a great concept: scan items on the shelf to find their ratings based on healthy, safety, and ethical practices. But I can’t wholeheartedly endorse it because the “scientific” ratings seem too arbitrary. Loreal and Cover Girl cosmetics get the highest score for health with “no ingredients of concern?” Uncle Ben’s rice rates higher than Back to Nature Organic? Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese ranks low because it doesn’t have a strict child labor policy?
2. Fair Trade Finder: I hate to knock a good try, but this crowd-sourced application for finding nearby fair trade items is pretty much limited to finding a lot of Honest Tea. That said, with more input from users it could become a helpful tool for finding a fair trade cup of coffee on the go.
What are your must-have green living apps? And which have you downloaded that could use an upgrade?