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What are some good smartphone apps for recycling and sustainable living?
We have at the tips of our fingers almost instantaneous access to vast amounts of information. That’s a lot of stuff all at once.
Remember though that information does not equal knowledge. It has to be sorted, processed, and compared to your personal experience and past learning so you can decide upon a course of action that is right for you.
If the question is: Where can I get a good pizza in Pittsburgh? Then consulting a yelp review or phoning a friend would be in order. (The answer, by the way, is Chef Claudio's.)
If the question is of more importance, like how can I live a more sustainable life, the information gets harder to sort through and facts get noticeably dicier. And if there’s money to be made, and there’s always money to be made, then some of that information could be coming from advertisers - people who are paid ostensibly because of their skill in convincing consumers to do what they want. So, how do you start?
One of the easiest things you can do to help the planet even while just sitting around is to switch to a different search engine.
Try Ecosia. It’s Google Lite with the added bonus that every search eventually adds up to a tree being planted. 45 searches = one tree. They also don’t track what you look for.
Ecosia is based in Germany and their servers run on renewable power while the trees they plant can be found all around the world. Just by searching for answers you can remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Read about Ecosia’s Mission here - https://info.ecosia.org/
Maybe you have sensitive skin. Or you like good cosmetics. Then you need to Think Dirty. Or if you also want to consider the foods you eat, try Skin Deep as well. Download either app then use your smartphone to scan the product barcode. Up pops a breakdown of ingredients. You can learn more about the ingredients and if you see something you don’t like, now you have the tools to avoid it.
Are you vegan or just interested in leading a more cruelty-free lifestyle? Or you’re just visiting and need to know the location of a well-regarded health food store. You’ll need to visit Happy Cow. It features reviews of vegan restaurants, guides to healthy vegetarian food, natural food stores, and even recipes. They have a smartphone app too.
Do you have something like A Good Bottle to fill and re-use when you get thirsty? Great! Now download the Refill water station app. Refill is an award-winning campaign to prevent plastic pollution. It does this by maintaining a network of fillip stations around the globe where you can go and get a refill of water.
By the end of 2019 in the UK alone, refill helped stop 100 million plastic bottles from entering the waste stream. That’s even better than recycling; speaking of which . . .
There are different types of plastics; some are not recyclable. Do you know what the numbers mean on the bottoms and sides of plastic bottles and containers? Or if a plastic fork is something that can even be recycled.
Think locally. Cities and countries around the world have very different rules and regulations about recycling. Let’s say you live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Eureka Recycling has a recycling reference app that’s simple and easy to use and will have all the recycling information you’ll need to know.
If you’re in a new town, city, or country, just like how you might read up on local customs and traditions, also look up what and how things are recycled.
Search for the right app for the right location. If you want a good general reference guide you can try Recycle Coach.
Are you a gamer or just have a competitive personality. Workout routines and exercise programs have gotten tons of people off the couch and onto trails through gamification (does the compulsion to “closing your rings” on an Apple Watch ring any bells).
Can you gamify sustainable living? In a way, you can. Download and use EcoCred to keep track of your carbon footprint, get rewards for improving your sustainability score, and compete for, you guessed it, sustainable and Earth-friendly prizes.
Remember to search using Ecosia. Seek and find verifiable information.
Dip your toes into Eco Warrior Princess, a good place for well researched and fair reporting on topics related to sustainable living, recycling, and the environment.
The apps and sites we mentioned should give you a good start. There’s a lot out there and even more that you can do. A Good Company is here for you too.