Nice Apps! Top 5 for Earth Day

Next Sunday, April 22, marks the 42nd Earth Day. But, get your eco-pants ready, because beginning tomorrow, it’s Earth Week.

Over its tenure, Earth Day evolved from a 1970 American creation to an international holiday celebrated in more than 175 countries. In fact, Earth Day Network cites that the billion people who celebrate the holiday account for it being the largest civic observance – worldwide.

Keep in mind that Earth Week isn’t just for recycling, but for implementing a range of lifestyle changes that benefit the planet and its current and future inhabitants. While every day is a good day to recycle, use this week as a catalyst to begin your new focused practice.

And, while going green is a humble tribute to the environment, it’s admittedly good for your wallet, too. Sometimes we call this phenomenon “congreenience,” but feel free to experience all of the benefits – earth-related and otherwise – that these Earth Day-specific apps will provide you.

Saturday March 31, Earth Hour 2012 kicked off Earth Week activities, engaging a billion people in more than 5,000 cities and towns worldwide.

iRecycle (iPhone and Android)
Earth911 brings us a way to follow, participate in and promote sustainable Earth practices. Pulling from its nationwide recycling center directory, it’ll provide you the nearest site (approximately 800,000 in total) where you can recycle or dispose of potentially harmful materials (e.g. batteries). After you find your spot, you can talk about it and share your experiences via social networks. And to ensure you’re in the know, this app aggregates environmental news, too.

Meter Readings (iPhone and Android)
Pay closer attention to your energy [in]efficiency! No, really. All of those times your dad scolded you for leaving a light on in the other room, or neglecting to turn off your bedroom overhead fan, perhaps he knew a thing or two about eco-friendliness – in addition to frugality. Despite being a monthly expenditure, your electric meter is also a ticker that keeps track of your environmentally-facing behavior. LivingGreenChannel reports that those who watch their meters save an average of 10 to 20 percent on their electric bills. This app tracks your meter, effectively allowing you to monitor your energy consumption.

Carbon Footprint (iPhone)
Tracking your energy use is one thing, but what about all of the other crap that contributes to an inefficient planet? Riding the bus or bike versus driving to work/school every day can certainly make a difference – one that you can track, too. With this app, you can monitor your carbon footprint through GPS-enabled technology, and set monthly emissions goals to monitor and ensure your progression toward overall efficiency. You enter your data – date and time of gas fill-up, how much you filled – and will track your fuel usage and emissions for multiple cars. Data it provides includes miles per gallon, dollars per day of driving, projected carbon dioxide emissions per year, percent difference from average American C02 emissions, total carbon emissions to date, etc.

The Green Gas Saver (iPhone)
Who knew that Speed Racers were risking more than their safety while weaving through traffic and taking quick corners? In fact, driving behavior largely affects your fuel economy. Meaning, habits such as putting the pedal-to-the-metal once the light turns green, accelerating up hills, and driving over the speed limit can suck down your precious and expensive gasoline supply. This app will sound an alarm once you’re engaging in these bad practices, making you aware of your gas-guzzling behavior. To track your progress, you can follow the scores and projections it gives you.

Good Guide (iPhone and Android)
Behavior is only part of the battle when trying to eco-ize your life. Yes, it’s important to monitor, track and improve your habits – especially those that harm the planet, and thus many others, in addition to yourself. However, there is only so much due diligence before the issue is out of your hands. While you can choose to carpool, turn the lights off and recycle paper, plastics and batteries, you should also monitor the products you purchase and the sustainable practices and principles of the producing companies. With this app, take a photo of the product’s bar code and find its ratings based on environmental, social, and health impacts, along with an overall rating.

Ashleigh Rainko I’m not a drama queen; life's more exciting with exaggeration. I’m not high maintenance; I just know what I want. Mobile apps, innovation, reinvention – and generally all technology – never cease to amaze me. I’m a PR pro, iPhone addict, UMich grad, Jackie O-aspiring metro-Detroit native, who has the gritty, true perspective on our millennial culture. And while you’ll likely find me wearing seersucker, you can feel free to take me seriously.

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