There are a lot of free iPhone apps that make it easy and (because they’re apps) fun to make more eco-friendly choices — and even some that help you take action to save the planet. So, if you liked last week’s post about Apps for Democracy, get ready for a treat.
You know you’ll have your phone with you when you’re at the grocery store, so why not use it to make wise purchasing decisions? The folks at GoodGuide.com have made their product rating service available via iPhone app and SMS to help you find “safe, healthy, and sustainable products.” The app provides detailed health, environment and social responsibility ratings for more than 50,000 personal care, household chemical, toy, and food products. Just scan a product’s bar code while you’re at the store and see the its rating right there.
The Greenpeace Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide, developed for iPhone and Android by 3rd Whale, has a narrower focus. It uses Greenpeace data to identify the brands of paper products that are truly green — and those that are not. According to the app’s description, “green” brands are those that:
- Contain 100% overall recycled content
- Contain at least 50% post-consumer recycled content
- Are bleached without toxic chlorine compounds
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation created the Seafood Watch app to help users make sustainable seafood choices at restaurants and supermarkets at their GPS coordinates. It tells you your best choice, a good alternative, and what to avoid regionally.
Another app developed for iPhone and Android by 3rd Whale, Find Green relies on a database of more than 60,000 business listings in hundreds of cities across North America to steer you to green business near your GPS coordinates — “everything from yoga studios to bicycle shops to organic restaurants near you.”
Earth911.com has app-ified its recycling database with iRecycle. This app tells you the closest recycling and/or disposal center for some 240 materials, based on your GPS coordinates. With 110,000 such centers in its database, it’s sure to find a nearby location for that stuff in your garage.
Using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, GreenSpace Map lets you find any “Featured Environmental Interests” within a 20-mile radius of your GPS coordinates or entered address. When the EPA says “Featured Environmental Interests” it’s not talking about the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, it’s talking about superfund sites, toxic sites, etc. — things best appreciated from afar.
Taking more of an activist approach, 350.org and 3rd Whale developed the free 350Mobile app last fall to inform users about climate change and help them find more than 1,500 actions they could participate in around the world on the Day of Action, Oct. 24, 2009. The app is currently dormant, since its Day of Action has past, but I wanted to include it as an example of how one environmental organization is using apps to organize.
See last week’s related post, Apps for Democracy, which explores apps that make government more transparent.