There’s an app for that! How many times have you heard that in response to a solution you were seeking? In today’s smartphone-obsessed society, there isn’t much that can’t be researched, simplified, and accomplished using a mobile app. Environmental consciousness is no exception. The development of green apps is making it easier for us to measure, evaluate, and reduce our impact on the planet based on data available through a mobile device.
In 2011, the EPA conducted the Apps for the Environment Challenge. Software developers were challenged to create apps using EPA data to address environmental issues such as climate change, air quality, water protection, pollution prevention, and chemical safety. The apps are intended to provide the user with helpful information to make more informed choices for the benefit of the environment. Since the competition in 2011, the EPA has continued to develop a database of web and mobile applications that can be found at www.epa.gov/mygreenapps. The database currently contains more than 150 apps that can be searched based on technology platform and topic.
Listed below are a few apps worth checking out to begin your foray into the mobile green movement. Keep in mind, the EPA continues to develop their green app resource so if you know of an app that should be added to the list, or if you have an idea of your own, check out the website and submit your suggestion. You can also sign up on the website to get updates from the EPA App Developer Community.
Light Bulb Finder (Free, Available for Apple and Android devices) The Light Bulb Finder assists you in choosing the right energy-efficient light bulbs for your space to reduce energy waste and cost, and still get the look you want. By entering your zip code, fixture type, and location within the home, details about the type of bulb you are replacing, and average hours used per day, the app will recommend an energy efficient bulb that is best suited to your needs.
iRecycle (Free, Available for Apple and Android devices) Powered by Earth 911’s recycling directory, the iRecycle app will help you locate a recycler near you and can tell you how, when, and where to safely recycle almost anything. Beyond recycling, the app can tell you how to properly dispose of hazardous materials such as medications, paint, and other household chemicals.
Good Guide (Free, Available for Apple and Android devices) Using a bar code scanner, Good Guide can help you find product ratings for food, personal care, and household products. Using the ratings, you can compare products based on health, environmental, and social/ethical performance.
Paper Karma (Free, Available for Apple Devices only) Just snap a photo of the mailing label on the unwanted mail that you want to stop, and PaperKarma will contact that mailer on your behalf to have you removed from the mailing list. What could be easier?
Sustainable Living – Community Connections
Eat Local (Free, Available for Apple Devices only) The Eat Local app will help you find fresh, locally grown food by telling you what is currently in season and directing you to the nearest farmer’s markets. It’s a great way to connect with and support the local community. The app also includes details about fresh products and links to recipes for preparing them. If you don’t see your favorite local farmer’s market listed, just click on “submit market” and get it added to the list.
There are still a few weeks left until Earth Day. Why not commemorate the day by taking your green efforts to another level with the help of a mobile device? What are the apps you find most useful? What would you add to the list?
By Amy Malloy