By Louise Baker
With new apps hitting the iTunes store everyday, it can be hard to figure out which ones are truly essential for the tech-loving environmentalist. It is possible to just load your phone with every shiny app that catches your eye, but that rather goes against the spirit of the green movement, doesn’t it? In the interest of reducing and simplifying, here are the top five green iPhone apps, selected to cover every aspect of an eco-friendly life.
GoodGuide is a handy app that gives detailed information about the health, social and environmental impact for any product you might be thinking of buying, and all you have to do is type in the product name or take a photo of the barcode with your phone’s camera. At the moment only personal care and household chemical products are in their database, but it’s under active development for expansion, and the price can’t be beat: free.
greenMeter is one of many apps designed to evaluate and improve fuel efficiency for your car, but it rises to the top of the heap with its polished interface. This app gives specific suggestions as you drive to help improve your fuel efficiency and thus reduce your carbon footprint. The price is $5.99, but anyone who needs to spend significant time behind the wheel will find that it pays for itself soon enough in saved gas costs.
Locavore is a must-have for people who prioritize sustainable agriculture and eating. The app is simple but well-executed: based on your current location, it tells you what foods are currently in season and for how long, and the location of the nearest farmers’ markets. The links to information from Wikipedia and Epicurious recipes for all 234 fruits and vegetables are also nice. The price is $2.99.
4: Find Green
Formerly called 3rdWhale Mobile, this popular app searches for nearby healthy living, sustainable and eco-friendly businesses. These can include anything from yoga studios to organic coffee shops to community garden projects, and it works in hundreds of cities in North America. Though this isn’t quite as helpful for those living in rural areas, it’s very nice to have while traveling, and as a free app it’s well worth picking up.
Getting in touch with old-school environmentalism, the free app iRecycle offers up the extremely useful service of locating the nearest recycling centers in your neighborhood, sorted by what kinds of products they’ll accept. You can also use it to get directions to the center from your current location, find out their hours of operation, and even look up green events near you—all nice touches.