Save the world from your phone – five great green apps

Whether you’re already environmentally conscious or just beginning to take the first steps towards greener living, there are many apps out there to help you make choices that look after our planet. From what food you buy to how you travel, there are a lot of ways that your decisions can affect the impact you are having on the environment. The following have been selected from research of over a hundred iPhone apps as among the most helpful for treading with a lighter footprint. Here’s five of the best –

  1. “Commute greener” is an award winning app from Volvo IT which helps you keep track of your CO2 emissions. Whilst ditching the car for public transport is an ideal some of us aspire to, for others driving is an essential activity to get where we need to go, but moderating your driving style, carpooling and avoiding unnecessary journeys are some ways of keeping track of the impact you are having on the atmosphere. Cars exhaust fumes are a major source of CO2 in the atmosphere, and this app is a great help for keeping these emissions down to the minimum. It’s not flashy, but it works well and does the job in a user-friendly and efficient fashion. Arguably Sweden’s best export since ABBA, easier to use than a flat-pack shelving unit, and tastier than a plate of pickled herring.
  2. It’s not just the fuel in your car that affects our environment, but the food you put in your belly. “Seasons” is a useful app with a clear and friendly interface which helps you keep track of what food is in season, and what’s on its way out, so you can eat fresher and cut down on your dinner’s air miles. It also tells you where the nearest farmers markets are; a useful addition for those sick of bland supermarket fare. It’s a great app for keeping healthy while doing something good for the planet, and will soon be available as an Android Wear app as well, so you can browse it on your Hugo Boss watches ‘Touch’. There’s no reason you have to look bad whilst doing something good!
  3. “Good guide” helps you find statistics and information on the health and social impact of mainstream food and household products. It’s simple and effective – by scanning the barcode on an item you can get ratings on the products which give you a clearer idea of the ethics of product than the packaging ever will. Also, it will send you personalised recommendations of products that align with your needs and ethical requirements. Beyond good.
  4. Want to see the world without leaving too much of a trail? “Twavel” is a nifty and social app which brings you up to date and pertinent information for green minded travellers. It also serves as a community where you can share information with travellers who share similar interests. Over time you can map the difference your lifestyle changes have made. It’s a smart and jolly little application, and great for the ethical adventurer.
  5. For competent cyclists, travelling by bike through the city is cheaper, healthier and with traffic is often quicker too. It’s also better for the environment, but there are challenges to managing a journey by bike in the city, particularly if you’re hiring. “Cycle hire” is a boon to those trying to use London’s cycle hire scheme – the infamous ‘Boris Bikes’. It helps you find bikes to borrow and also free parking spaces, which can be a bit of a nightmare without such a device. Though currently only available in the UK this app would do well to spread to other countries with similar bike hire schemes, as it works well and is genuinely useful.

Hopefully you will be very pleased with whichever of these apps you go for, living greener is a commitment, but once you begin it’s a great lifestyle, and one that benefits you and the planet.