Intentional Living,  Sustainable Life,  Travel

17 Eco-Friendly Apps for a Greener World

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Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Carolyn

Eco-friendly apps help you while helping nature
Using E-bird to Identify Birds by Sounds

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For Earth Month this year, I have decided to introduce readers to some eco-friendly apps. 

Why use an eco-friendly app? Eco-friendly apps fill many purposes. With them, you can plant real live trees, find out where light bulbs can be recycled, reduce energy consumption, offset your carbon emissions, and much more.

What Makes an App Eco-Friendly 

eco-friendly (adjective) · ecofriendly (adjective)

  1. not harmful to the environment:

True eco-friendly apps are developed using green principles from the design phase to production. The energy consumption of the app, the energy consumption of its host servers, and the app’s longevity are all considerations in the development of eco-friendly apps.

Let’s take a look at what eco-friendly are available at how they can help us while helping the Earth.

Eco-Friendly Apps For a Greener Home

Is having a more sustainable home important to you? The following apps can help you with keeping a greener home.

Google Home:

Platform: iOS/Android

Have you ever left on vacation and then remembered you forgot to turn the thermostat down? Or do you want to turn your lights on and off at random?

Google Home lets you remotely control your Nest Thermostat, Ring Doorbell, smart plugs, wifi, and more. 

With a click of your finger, you can turn down your thermostat and stop worrying about wasted energy and dollars flying out the window.

Recycle Coach

Platform: iOS/Android

Recycling is not a complete solution but it’s a step in the right direction. If you’re like me you often have an item that you wonder if it can be recycled.

You know it’s not good to “wish cycle” (recycling something that you don’t know is recyclable in the hopes that it is”. What are you to do?

Open the app Recycle Coach, take a picture of the item, or type in a description and Recycle Coach will tell you how and where to recycle the item.

It will also send you reminders about when to put your trash and recycling out and also notify you of special collection days.

Buy Nothing

Platform: iOS/Android

If you’re cleaning out your house the Buy Nothing app is a great tool to turn your junk from waste to treasure. There are Buy Nothing groups around the world. 

You simply take a picture of what you want to rehome, add a description, enter your location, and then wait for someone to express interest. Then you make arrangements for pickup. Everything on Buy Nothing is free.

You can also post wanted items, so instead of buying something new you can see if someone has what you are looking for just taking up space.

Paper Karma

Platform: iOS/Android

Does junk mail drive you crazy? You are not alone. Do you know that every year over 77 billion pieces of junk mail are stuffed into US mailboxes? It’s time to put an end to this waste. 

Enter Paper Karma: This handy app helps you to save trees by reducing paper waste. Simply snap a picture of your junk mail and Paper Karma will go to work getting you unsubscribed. It works on credit card offers, catalogs, insurance offers, and a whole slew of other junk mail.

Paper Karma is the largest “Do Not Mail” registry in the US.

Cleanfox Inbox Cleaner

Platform: iOS/Android

The average carbon footprint of an email is 0.3g CO2e. That’s right, your cluttered inbox consumes resources and has a carbon footprint.

Per Mike Berners, author of “ How Bad are Bananas-the Carbon Footprint of Everything “ the average person’s email carbon footprint is between 3 to 40kgs CO2e, which is the equivalent of driving between 10 to 128 miles in a small gas car. Multiply this by the billions of email users around the world and it becomes obvious that even something as small as cleaning up your inbox makes a difference.

Cleanfox email cleaner is a free app that will help you declutter your inbox and also reduce marketing emails.

Eco-Friendly Travel Apps

Eco-friendly apps can help minimize your carbon footprint
Eco-friendly apps can help minimize your carbon footprint

Though it’s not news to most of us, it bears stating: Travel is very carbon intensive. Air travel accounts for approximately 4% of global warming and air travel emissions are increasing at an alarming rate.

Environmentally conscious travelers will want to choose flights that minimize carbon production, eat sustainably, stay in sustainable lodging, and choose sustainable tours.

Happily in the last few years accountability has grown in the travel industry and it’s much easier to obtain sustainability information. There are now apps at our fingertips that provide us with the information we need to make informed decisions.

Many facets of travel are changing for the better: Gone are the days of paper airline tickets ( they disappeared in 2008), paper maps are few and far between, more and more boarding passes are digital, many airports offer convenient recycling options right beside the trash and most have water bottle refill stations.

The following eco-friendly apps can aid you in further reducing your carbon footprint.

Google Flights

Google Flights is not an app but a website, Google Flights is a great tool to shop for flights and it does show carbon emissions and which flight choices have lesser carbon emissions.

Google Flights is my go-to tool for searching for flights.

Trip-It

Platform: iOS/Android

Trip-It: This app goes a step further than Google Flights by showing the carbon footprint of your flight and providing suggestions on how to offset those carbon emissions.

I’ve used Trip-It for several years to keep all my bookings in one place. It has saved me from booking a car for the wrong days. When I imported my reservation for the car, I could see the pickup date didn’t match my location for that day. I was able to cancel and rebook. Thank-you Trip-It!

Trip-it also shows you everything within walking distance of your location, as well as transit options and their cost. The app makes it easy to make good choices.

Too Good To Go

Platform: iOS/Android

Too Good to Go was created to minimize restaurant and bakery waste. It’s common knowledge that these establishments need to serve fresh food each day, so today’s food must go. If food is prepared and not sold, much of it ends up in the trash at the end of the day

This is where Too Good To Go comes into play: Too Good to Go offers “Surprise Bags” at approximately ⅓ of the regular price to app users. The catch is that although you can choose what establishment you order from you can’t choose what you get, quantities are limited and you must pick up during a certain window. 

App Users leave rave reviews about the deals and food they have received.

Seafood Watch

One of my joys in traveling is sampling fresh seafood. However, I don’t want to contribute to unsustainable fishing practices. I’ve always wished I could find out how sustainable the food I’m eating is, and now Seafoodwatch.org provides me with that exact information.  A quick search and I know if the catch of the day is a good choice or not.

Seafoodwatch.org is a website maintained by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Outdoors apps

Geo-Caching Is a Fun Way For All to Enjoy the Outdoors
Geo-Caching Is a Fun Way For All to Enjoy the Outdoors

There are a plethora of apps to get you outside enjoying the great outdoors. Many of these also support green causes. 

Treecard

Platform: iOS/Android

How would you like to plant real live trees and receive rewards just for walking? You can with the Treecard app.  

For every 10,000 steps you log, you will earn a “virtual tree” and for every 5 virtual trees earned, Treecard will fund the planting of a real tree via Ecosia or Instituto Espinhaco.  

Rewards you receive range from discounts on various products, and plants or you can save your points and score a free National Parks Pass.

If you sign up via this link Treecard, you will receive a bonus of 50 points once you’ve walked 10,000 steps.

Merlin

Platform: iOS/Android

Merlin is an app by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. EVERY birder should have this app. Identify birds you see by size, color, and location, a photo, or by sound.  It’s fascinating to record the sounds of birds in your surroundings and then try to find them.  You can also log the birds that you see and create a life list.  Merlin has bird packs that you can download as you travel to different parts of the world.

Going birding is a great way to rack up the steps for the aforementioned Treecard app.  I found it particularly interesting to learn the sound of a species of bird and be able to go “Oh there’s a Long-Tailed Manikin in the area” and then look for it and find it. I feel like I’m beginning to understand the conversation of the forest.

All Trails

Platform: iOS/Android

Whether you are a hiker, a biker, or a runner, AllTrails is a great app to have on your phone. With over 400,000 trails mapped around the world, you’ll be sure to find a trail near you.

If you’re wondering about trail conditions or what the best time to avoid crowds is, browse the reviews. 

AllTrails has all the info you’ll need for your next hike.

AllTrails donates 1% of its profit to 1% for the Planet and is also a member of Onetreeplanted.

Geo-Caching

Platform: iOS/Android

Join the world’s biggest treasure-hunting community and start geocaching.  There are millions of cleverly disguised containers hidden around the world just waiting for you to find them.

This app will walk you through how to find your first few geo-caches.  It also includes tips, hints, and instructions.

Geocaching is a fun way to add a little excitement to your next walk around town. Just be on the lookout for muggles.

The Clean Earth Challenge

The Clean Earth Challenge was launched in 2022 as a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation and Johnson Outdoors.

“The goal of the Clean Earth Challenge is to advance restoration and resilience of the nation’s greatest natural resources — the land and water that sustain people, wildlife, and the planet.”

This challenge has been a huge success as anyone anywhere can participate. The original goal was to pick up 1 million pieces of trash, to date over 3 million pieces of trash have been picked up.

Why not join the movement and clean up our earth one piece of trash at a time?  You can join at .Clean Earth Challenge Let’s help the movement surpass their 4 million pieces of trash goal!

Sustainable Shopping Apps

Eco-friendly shopping apps
Eco-friendly shopping apps to help you choose wisely

There is so much greenwashing going on that it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine what purchases should be avoided at all costs, and what items aren’t so bad.  Of course, it’s always better to reuse and buy things from the used market like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, thrift stores, or Poshmark. But when that fails, the following apps can assist you in your sustainable shopping journey.

Good On You

Platform: iOS/Android

With over 3000+ ethical brand ratings Good On You should be your go-to App for clothing purchases.  With Good On You can check on the environmental impact of your prospective purchases and it will also show you more eco-friendly alternatives.

If the brand you’re looking for isn’t rated, hit a button in the app to request that Good On You rate it. You can save on sustainable fashion with exclusive offers from high-rated brands via the app.

Upside

Platform: iOS/Android

This is an app that will help you stretch your dollars via discount offers at gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants. You simply log in and scan for offers near you, claim them, make your purchase and you will be rewarded with cashback. 

If you’d like to give this app a whirl, sign up via this link Upside, and get an extra15¢/gal bonus the first time you make a purchase.

You might be wondering how this is an eco-friendly app. I’ve included it due to Upside’s commitment to sustainability initiatives including the donation of 1% of all revenue to non-profit organizations including food rescue operations, as well as its Carbon offsetting program.


Building Green Habits

Builder Greener Habits
Practice Building More Sustainable Habits

Ailuna

Platform: iOS/Android

The last app I’ll mention is Ailuna -an app that helps you build sustainable habits that are good for you and the planet.  Through a series of challenges, Ailuna builds your sustainable habits, while increasing your environmental awareness and health. It’s a lot of fun to see your progress report and the environmental impact you’ve made via small changes.

Which App Will You Be Downloading?

Please leave a comment on what apps you’ve chosen to download and which is your favorite.

Have I missed one you love? Please feel free to mention it in the comments. If you liked this post you might like my other Earth Month posts: Invest in Our Planet and April is Earth Month.

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