5 Apps to Green Up Your Act

Quick — can you name the closest recycling location in your neighborhood that accepts paint? How about all the greenhouse gases? And what’s your carbon footprint? I like to think people would be a lot more successful at making environmentally friendly choices on a daily basis if the options were convenient and the information was readily available.

With that in mind, here are five apps that make “greening” up your life much easier, and even a little fun. They can help you find recycling centers in a snap, identify safe foods and products, reduce your carbon footprint, and more. Hit the jump to take a look.

iRecycle

iRecycle

iRecycle

OK, maybe you already know you’re supposed to recycle batteries — but how? And where? iRecycle can help with situations like this one, plus save you the trouble of making a dozen phone calls or driving all over your city to find a place that accepts your stuff.

Powered by Earth911.com, the app makes it easy to find recycling and disposal locations for more than 240 different materials. Type in whatever you want to unload (your kid sister is not an option), and, with access to your current location, iRecycle sorts through 800,000-plus listings to find the nearest facilities or businesses that accept your discarded item(s). Find places to drop off things like cell phones, paint, motor oil, car batteries, plastics and more.

iRecycle also provides available phone numbers, websites, hours, restrictions, services, addresses and maps, so you don’t even have to leave the app to figure out where you’re going. Additional features include green event listings and the latest articles from Earth911.com, putting pretty much everything you need to know about recycling right in the palm of your hand.

Price:
Free
Requires: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Developer: Earth911.com

iRecycle

iRecycle

My Carbon Footprint

My Carbon Footprint

My Carbon Footprint

My Carbon Footprint shows how your everyday choices impact the world around you, symbolized within the app by your own little slice of planet. Initially, you’ll answer 10 questions to personalize your My Carbon Footprint planet. Then you’ll answer one question per day, with your answers subtly impacting the world within the app, making it greener or more polluted as you go.

A big component of this app is the social networking integration. As you answer questions, you’ll earn badges, receive environment-related tips, and have the option to share your achievements on Facebook so your friends can see how your little planet is doing.

Criticism of this app usually includes complaints that it doesn’t assign a hard and fast figure as the user’s carbon footprint; however, the app doesn’t claim to be a carbon footprint calculator. Rather, the app’s goal is to get people talking about the impact of carbon emissions and provide users with visual reminders that our lifestyle choices affect the world around us. On the latter level, I’d say the app succeeds. Plus, having your own little virtual slice of planet is cool.

Price: Free
Requires: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Developer: Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide

My Carbon Footprint

My Carbon Footprint

Zero Carbon

Zero Carbon

Zero Carbon

For individuals in search of an actual carbon footprint calculator, Zero Carbon is an excellent option. Answer some questions related to your daily habits in order to discover your carbon dioxide output.

Once you know the amount of greenhouse gases your lifestyle is producing, Zero Carbon will offer tips for how to reduce that number. Plus, you can use the offset tool within the app to create a user account and then financially support certified projects that reduce carbon emissions around the world — thereby, in theory, lowering your own impact. Similarly, you can give a gift of “avoided carbon tons” to another person if you want. (Ahem, your neighbor with the gas-guzzler, maybe?)

Additionally, Zero Carbon shows you how your statistics stack up against world averages, and it can be connected to Facebook, so you can share your results with friends and anyone else who might be keeping tabs on you via the Internet.

Price: Free
Requires: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Developer: Mobitelio LTDA

Zero Carbon

Zero Carbon

GoodGuide

GoodGuide

GoodGuide

Having been featured already by The New York Times, Oprah, Newsweek and other media heavyweights, the Good Guide app aims to start a consumer revolution. This application enables users to browse through or search among more than 70,000 entries for safe, healthy and sustainable products before making a purchase.

Best of all, there’s a barcode-scanning capability as well, meaning you can use your iPhone’s camera to read a product’s barcode and bring up details like the product or company’s ratings for health, environment and social responsibility. Research everything from personal care and toy products to household chemicals and food products; in fact, you can even build personalized shopping lists in Good Guide of items you love and want to support, as well as lists of products you want to avoid in the future.

And like any good app that’s going to incite a movement, Good Guide allows you to share your recommended products on Facebook, Twitter and via email, as well as earn nifty badges for actively viewing, rating and sharing within the Good Guide community.

Price: Free
Requires: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Developer: GoodGuide, Inc.

GoodGuide

GoodGuide

Green Map

Green Map

Green Map

If you’re looking to support more green places and things in your community, the Green Map nonprofit org can help you. Its app has information on more than 15,000 green sites, such as farmers markets, green buildings, bike lines, community gardens, public transportation hubs and more, thanks to 700-plus locally led mapping projects in 55 countries.

By taking advantage of the Green Map’s networked database of natural, cultural and social resources, you can opt for activities in your community that have a lower impact on the environment. Search by those closest to you, by naming a specific city, or by icon (which indicates the category the site falls into — sustainable living, nature, or culture and society).

Granted, the app is currently more useful in larger cities, where the number of users who have added green sites to the map is likely to be greater. But if you live in a smaller city, that shouldn’t stop you. Hey, why not get out there anyway and blaze the trail for Green Mapmakers who come after you?

Price:
$1.99
Requires: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Developer: Green Map System

Green Map

Green Map

Which Apps Make Your Life Greener?

The apps above are good ones to add to your arsenal if you’re a newbie to the green movement. And even if you’re a bona fide greenie who’s already downloaded all five of these, it wouldn’t hurt to pass the info on to your friends, right?

Which green app is your favorite? Leave a comment below to let us know, whether we mentioned it here or not.