We all know we need to be a little greener in our daily lives, but at times it can be difficult to know what to do, whether we’re doing it right, and if it really makes a difference. However, help is now at hand with smartphone apps that can guide us along the way. Concerned with what you eat, how you commute to work, or how to ensure your own home energy efficiency? There’s an app to help us all do our bit.
1 – Seasons (iOS, $1.99)
Using location services, this app provides seasonal information about fruits, vegetables, nuts, fungi and herbs available near you. Comprising 214 total entries, Seasons will display details of local and import seasons for produce in your area, as well as monthly and seasonal overviews. The searchable database enables you to make informed decisions about what groceries you purchase or what meal you should order, based on how far the food has travelled.
2 – iRecycle (iOS and Android, Free)
This simple app provides an easy-to-navigate directory of local recycling facilities, as well as information on 350 recyclable materials. Using location services, ZIP codes or city names, iRecycle provides up-to-date information on facility locations, opening hours, contact information and facility restrictions. Simply find the item you want to recycle from the category list and you can quickly find out if you can dispose of your unwanted item in your area. No more excuses!
3 – Light Bulb Finder (iOS and Android, Free)
Switching away from energy-zapping incandescent light bulbs sounds so simple in theory, but it can often lead to a good half hour wasted in front of the bewildering array of energy-efficient light bulbs now on offer at your local store. Luckily, we’ve now got Light Bulb Finder. Enter your ZIP code and Light Bulb Finder will search for the average electricity rates for your area, before asking you for information about the bulb you wish to replace: wattage, fixture type, base type, and estimated daily use. The app will then select a suitable efficient bulb for you, providing all the relevant information on annual energy savings and the cost of the new light bulb against its investment yield. The app also allows you to compile and save a list to refer to when shopping. Alternatively, you can also simply order your bulbs online through the app, paying securely with all major credit cards.
4 – Get There By Bike (iOS, Free)
Whether for commuting, pleasure or simply for getting from A to B, choosing to cycle has many advantages: in addition to keeping you in good shape and saving you money, it’s a sure-fire way to lower your carbon footprint. But cycling in the city can be a daunting undertaking. Get There by Bike is a great app that utilises both Google and MapQuest, and takes into consideration traffic, inclines and available bike paths, to provide the quickest and safest bike-orientated routes through the city. Although the app itself is free, upgrade for 99c to include specific bike maps for most major US cities. Purchase three city maps, the remaining 18 are yours for free. Get There by Bike also lets you map your own routes and share these with other users or even post them to your Facebook wall. By adding information about danger spots, common theft sites, bike friendly areas, businesses and secure bike parking to shared maps, you keep the app updated and useful for fellow city cyclists.
5 – MyEnergy Tips (iOS, Free)
Perfect for keeping on top of your home energy consumption, this handy app allows you to draw up an energy inventory of your home heating, appliances and light sources. By inputting relevant data for your specific location, as well as the average electricity bill, overall historical energy consumption, and your individual savings goals, MyEnergy Tips can provide you with daily recommendations for your home, according to local weather and the time of day. In addition to daily tips, the app also tracks which recommendations you have chosen to follow, allowing you to see the effects of your actions in terms of both money and carbon savings. A great way to see the difference you can make!