Posted Jan 5, 2015
The Best Apps to Help Make Your Home Environmentally Friendly
I hate to admit it, but I’m not always the most environmentally friendly of renters. I leave the fridge door open when I refill my Brita pitcher. I have incandescent light bulbs, and I’ve forgotten to turn off Netflix before bed countless times.So, I’ve decided that one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 will be to improve my daily habits and become a better green crusader. Of course, figuring out how to do that is easier said than done, which is why I’ve turned to the world of apps.
You can find tons of digital tools that download right to your smartphone that will help you turn over a new leaf. Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly products for various green needs:
Your apartment is full of opportunities for doing good for the environment. While changing light bulbs won’t end climate change, it’s a step in the right direction.
These phone apps will help you identify ways to change your habits and give tips for how to do so:
Light Bulb Finder: Different lighting fixtures require certain light bulbs, so it’s important you buy the correct ones. If you’re going green, you also want to stay away from incandescent, which use a lot of energy. Compact florescent and LED light bulbs save energy, last a long time and reduce spending.
What’s more, some of these types of bulbs are even made to produce softer yellow light, like incandescent does. Make sure you choose the right bulb for your fixture by downloading Light Bulb Finder. This free app does a lot of good.
Initially, the app will have you type in your zip code, and it will then provide the average energy output in your area. If the reading is inaccurate, you can change it by hand. Next, you can pick an incandescent bulb type you’d like to replace, the type of base it has and whether it’s a dimmable, three-way or one-way model.
Enter the wattage of the current bulb, and how long you leave the light on. Finally, the app will recommend a CF bulb based on your needs.
EcoCharge: I tend to charge my phone when I’m going to bed. I plug it in, pass out, then unplug it in the morning. Unfortunately, this isn’t the more environmentally friendly of habits, as it tends to consume unnecessary amounts of energy – my phone really only takes 15 minutes or so to recharge.
EcoCharge is an app that makes your phone ring when it’s fully charged, informing you to unplug it. Available on iPhone and Android, EcoCharge comes with ring tones options. The app also plays helpful tips for going green in other areas of your life.
I don’t have to pay for water in my apartment, but I still want to reduce how much I use, so I’ve been checking out these apps:
Virtual Water: You may not think about it, but the food you eat was grown with water. The liquids you drink contain water, and you use H2O daily. Virtual Water is an app that tracks literally all the water you consume, from the liquid that irrigates your meals to the water in your coffee.
Getting a good picture of the fresh water you consume could help you cut back. Additionally, it lets you compare and contrast the liquid used for various things. That way, you can choose to buy products that consume less.
Water Buddy: Water Buddy allows you to track the amount of water you use by way of monitoring your meter and lets you set goals.
You’ll get a warning when you’re close to your limit so you know when you need to slow down – you can take shorter showers, wash your dishes by filling the sink rather than leaving the water running, etc.
I try not to waste my food by eating perishables first, but it’s inevitable that something spoils before I get to it every now and then. Fortunately, with a little planning, you (as well as I) can cut back on waste, and these apps will help:
Love Food Hate Waste: This app does a lot of work by helping you plan meals, purchase ingredients, use leftovers and remember foods you may have forgotten you had. For instance, you can input the foods you have in your panty or fridge, and the app will recommend recipes that use those items.
What’s more, Love Food Hate Waste gives you achievement badges for accomplishing food goals – being eco-friendly can also be fun!
U.S. Farmers Market Finder: This app helps you locate farmers markets in your area using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, encouraging you to buy locally. Furthermore, the markets the app locates have been certified organic, meaning the vendors only produce and sell organic foods.
Unfortunately, my apartment building does not offer recycling, which means I have to find a way to get rid of my paper and plastic.
iRecycle: iRecycle helps you locate nearby recycling banks and what you can and cannot bring there. The app can identify about 350 different materials OK for recycling and has a list of centers. Additionally, the app suggests more than 1.6 million ways to recycle your goods.
You can even connect the app to social media to share your experience and tips with friends.
Recyclebank: This app is for U.S. residents only, and identifies locations for recycling. Check out the app to see what you can and cannot recycle – some things may surprise you. For instance, you can recycle clothes by donating them.
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