Making our lives a little bit greener is quickly becoming more important than ever. If you’re used to driving a gas guzzler or not separating out your recycling, though, it can be a little tricky to get started. Thankfully, if you’re like most of the world, you’ve probably got a smartphone or other smart device in your pocket, purse, or on your desk near you, and there are plenty of apps to help make going green a little bit easier. Here are some of our favorite apps to help you go green.
Photo by Adobe Stock/imagecore
Unsubscribing from junk emails is easy — just click the spam button, and 9 times out of 10, your email service handles the process for you. Junk mail that shows up in your physical mailbox, on the other hand, isn’t as easy to shed — until now.
Paper Karma does all the hard work for you — simply download the app to your smartphone and scan your junk mail as it comes in. The app does all the hard work for you, by notifying the offending company that you no longer wish to receive their junk mail. It works for unsolicited catalogs too — or even ones you requested but no longer want, but the company doesn’t seem to get the hint and keeps sending them.
Energy Consumption Analyzer
We all get an electric bill every month, and depending on where you live you might get a water bill and gas bill as well. Most people don’t glance at anything other than the balance due — but these bills can be a wealth of information to help you keep your energy consumption down. The Energy Consumption Analyzer app helps to make that a little easier.
If you have electric, gas or water meters that are easily accessible, simply add them to your app and periodically go write down the current meter readings. The app does the rest — calculating your household’s average rate of energy, water or gas consumption. If you input the current cost per unit, the app will even calculate how much your bill should be before fees and taxes.
While it does require a little bit of work on your part, this app can be a great tool if you’re concerned about how much energy you’re using. Then you can work on reducing it.
UFO Power Center
If you want to be more proactive in moderating your home’s energy consumption, consider the UFO power center. While this does require you purchase compatible power strips for your home, this app enables you to track exactly how much energy your devices use as well as shut off power strips remotely that are not in use. You can even schedule specific outlets or appliances to shut off at non-peak hours to prevent them from using up and wasting electricity when they’re not in use.
While the power center requires an investment, once the initial purchase is made, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars on your power bill every year. And, as an added bonus, if you forget to turn off the coffee maker before you leave for work, you can simply log into the app and turn off the outlet.
Unless your city or town makes recycling mandatory, it can be difficult to know what to recycle and where to recycle it in your area. Can you recycle those old pizza boxes or do they have to go in the trash? What about 2-liter soda bottles? While you can call your local recycling center to get the answers — assuming you have a local recycling center — it’s much easier to just pop open your iRecycle app.
This app helps you separate recyclables from non-recyclables and uses your phone’s location to help you find local recycling centers. It’s also got a ton of information about ways you can make recycling easier in your daily life — from choosing package-free items to techniques for separating garbage from recyclable materials.
Say you want to donate money to help support climate protection organizations. Do you know which ones are actually doing good work for the planet and which ones are just pocketing all their donations to pay their CEO? While you can find end-of-year income statements for any non-profit organization in the country — all of that information is public record by default — unless you’re an accountant, it can be hard to navigate all that information.
#Climate does all the hard work for you, listing the climate organizations that are helping the planet and deserve your support and warning you away from those that aren’t doing any good. Just plug in the organization you’re curious about and #Climate will collect all that information for you.
Light Bulb Finder
What’s the difference between an incandescent light bulb, an LED and a CFL? If you know, good for you. If not, take a moment to download the Light Bulb Finder app to your smartphone. This app has all the information you could ever need about the different types of light bulbs, from how long they last in relation to one another to the carbon footprint of each bulb and even how much money you could potentially save by switching to one type of bulb over another.
If you can find the old version of the app right now, you’re good to go — otherwise, hang tight. The minds behind Light Bulb Finder are currently working on a newer and more efficient version of the app.
Smartphone apps are just one tool to help make going green a little bit easier. Take a look at the ones we’ve listed above, or let us know some of your favorite green apps in the comments below. If we missed a good one, we’d love to know about it.