(Published on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, in The Daily Citizen, Dalton, GA.)
Recycle & Reuse: 9 iPhone Apps for a Greener Environment
From finding a recycling center near you to reducing junk mail at home, there are many green apps available for mobile phones and mobile devices. Here are several for you to try that are available for iOS devices like the Apple iPhone.
- Recycle Nation: Find out where to recycle specific products with this free app from www.recyclenation.com/mobile. Recycle Nation’s app includes access to their online database of places to recycle, their extensive collection of articles about living an eco-friendly lifestyle, and a list of recycling facts with photos. The recycling log allows users to track the type and weight of materials they have recycled and calculates the environmental impact.
- iRecycle: Similar to the previous app, iRecycle allows users to search for recycling locations based on the www.earth911.com database. This free app can use a current location, ZIP code, address or city, to access information for recycling collection points, such as website, phone number, directions, hours of operation and other materials collected.
- Rippl: Start healthy and eco-friendly habits with the help of Rippl, a mobile app from the Ocean Conservancy. To get started choose a tip from the list, like “reduce paper towel use” or “choose alternatives to bottles”. Then select start routine, choose a time frame to try the new habit, and the days of the week you want to be reminded about the habit. Rippl will send you reminders and keep track on your progress. Before you know it you’ll be using more cloth napkins and reusable mugs.
- Gro Recycling: Teaching kids about recycling is fun when you have a game app on the iPhone or iPad like Gro Recycling. This colorful app designed for kids invites users to feed trash to a group of recycling and waste bins. After they’re full, new products are made from the recyclables. These get used at a picnic for forest animals, then are recycled again for an entertaining circular gameplay for toddlers and pre-k aged children. Gro Recycling is $2.99 in the app store, but you can try the Lite version for free.
- Recycling Truck: This recycling app for kids has a focus on sorting. Using the recycling truck users collect recycling from the curb and take it to the sorting facility. Their items are sorted into the plastic, metal, glass, and paper categories. While this game does not show what happens to the products after they’re sorted it’s still an entertaining app for kids that love big trucks. Recycling Truck is available for $0.99 in the app store.
- PlugShare: If you have an electric vehicle or are considering buying one this year you should have PlugShare’s app on your mobile device. PlugShare is an online directory of places where you can charge your vehicle. Their listings include High Power Stations, Public Stations, and even residential stations from other PlugShare users. This app shines with the “plan a trip” feature. Add your starting point and destination then choose a route. The app will show all the charging stations along the route. Based on your vehicle’s range choose the charging stations you need to stop at to complete your trip.
- Skin Deep: This is the latest app from EWG.org, the Environmental Working Group, an organization that encourages individuals to know their environment and protect their health. Skin Deep is a database of personal care products that have been assigned safety ratings according to the toxicity of their ingredients. The app allows users to scan barcodes on product packaging to quickly find the rating for a particular product. Similar products with better ratings are also recommended.
- GoodGuide: Wondering if that shampoo you’re about to buy has too many chemicals? Or if the organic label really means organic? Access the Good Guide directory of product ratings in your pocket with their mobile app available for iPhones and Android-enabled smartphones. Products are rated scientifically for their health, environmental impact, and society impact. While shopping you can scan the barcode for that shampoo, and many other products, and find out if they’re good for you and the planet. Visit www.goodguide.com/about/mobile to download it for free.
- PaperKarma: Get rid of paper junk mail with PaperKarma, a free app that helps you opt out of catalogs, magazines, credit card offers, white and yellow pages and other unwanted publications. Add your mailing address when you first launch the app, then simply take a photo of the offending mail and submit. They’ll automatically contact the mailer and remove you from their distribution list. The app has about three trial request which you can upgrade to unlimited request when you subscribe for $1.99 per month or $9.99 per year.
Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.