5 Mobile Apps That Make Eco Friendly Living Easier

Seems that just about everyone these days has an iPhone, or iPod Touch, or some other can’t-live-without-it hand held gadget. I suspect that if our species continues at this rate, our evolution will include the growth of a third (and possibly fourth) hand just to keep up with all these gadgets we can no longer leave the house without! Well, if you have one of these hi-tech growths attached to your hand, then you also have a valuable resource for living a more eco friendly life. There are some pretty handy apps you can download that will help make green living a little easier and more convenient. Here are 5 of them worth a look.

Green Genie

Cost: $0.99

Green Genie, selected by Apple as one of their “APP Store Essentials,” is a simple and fun to use app. It includes over 100 projects you can do to “go green” and tells you how each project will help the environment, and how much money it could save you. These projects are sorted by size and by project area, so you can easily find one that suits you. The projects include simple habit changes, like running the dishwasher only with a full load (annual savings = $40 & 100 lbs. of CO2), to DIY projects such as installing faucet aerators. You won’t find detailed how-to instructions in the app itself. However, it does link to articles on the web that will give you all those details.

Green Genie also includes a handful of Carbon Footprint calculators to help you measure your impact on the environment. There’s also a quick-reference for the various types of recycled plastic that will help you out when you find yourself looking at the symbol on a container and (once again) wondering, “what does that one mean again?” The app also links to a good list of Green blogs and environmental organizations. Definitely worth a buck.
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iRecycle

Cost: FREE

Recycling is one of the basic staples of living an eco-friendly lifestyle. The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to figure out where to take your various thingamajiggers and whatchamacallits to have them recycled. There are two resources I highly recommend as a solution to this problem. First is Earth911.com, which is a website dedicated to making recycling easier and more accessible. It works like a search engine; just type in what you want to recycle and your zip code, and you’ll find out where to take it for recycling.

My second recommendation is the iRecycle app made by Earth911. All the functionality of the website, and it’ll be in your pocket when you need it! If you’re already familiar with the Earth911 website, you’ll love this app. The app also links to articles posted at Earth911.com so you can learn even more about recycling. Considering the price (did I mention it’s free?), this one is kind of a no-brainer. Get it. Use it. Recycle stuff. Look at you, living greener already!
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Good Guide

Cost: FREE

If you’re trying to buy products that are more eco friendly (or just trying to cut down on the toxic chemicals in your house), then this app will make your shopping a lot easier. The next time you find yourself staring in bewilderment at 27 different cleaners or shampoos – all claiming to be “green” – you can just reach for this app and sort it out. If you’re on the “low end” of high tech like I am, you can find products by typing in the name looking them up by category. If you’re more high tech, the newest version of this app is capable of scanning product barcodes to find the product in its database. How cool is that?

If you simply want to switch to the most eco friendly air freshener you can find, then you simply tap the “Top Rated” icon and navigate to the product category “Air Fresheners.”

Changing to eco friendly products is a great way to lessen your impact on the environment. But it can be confusing to figure out which products to use. If you’re going through this process (or you’ve been putting it off because it seems too complicated), then you should definitely grab this app and try it out next time you go shopping.
Get Good Guide
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Green Meter

Cost: $5.99

If you’re into Hypermiling or EcoDriving, or if you simply want to increase your fuel efficiency, then this may be the app for you.

GreenMeter is an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that computes your vehicle’s power and fuel usage characteristics and evaluates your driving to increase efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and cost, and lower your environmental impact. Results are displayed in real time, while driving, to give instantaneous feedback.

This app is most effective on the road, but you can also learn from it before getting into the car. Just tilt your device forward and backwards to simulate acceleration and deceleration. The app is made by Hunter Research Technology, and you can see more details, video demos, and the users manual on their website.

This one seems pretty neat and useful, but I have to also add my two cents: For those of you already trying (and failing miserably) to drive, text, and eat dinner all at the same time…do us a favor and leave this one at home.
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Car Care

Cost: $4.99

The Car Care app is designed to do two things: Keep track of your gas mileage, and remind you when it’s time to have your car serviced.

You can track multiple vehicles, customize your fuel type and currency, and choose display options. I love the idea of automatic service reminders. I never forget to change my oil. Why? Because the mechanic always slaps a big ugly sticker on the windshield telling me when to come back and do it again. Not so with other “regular maintenance” services. I had considered putting sticky notes all over the windshield but… this app seems like a better option!
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