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8 apps to help you lead a greener life (Earth Day Roundup)

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Spare a thought for the beleaguered planet today. We’ve been polluting it, digging holes in it, and generally messing it up for decades, and now it’s time to give a little something back. We already took a look at how to find eco-friendly smartphones and tablets, highlighted a few green gadgets, and now we’re going to delve into the world of environmentally conscious apps.

We’ve got various downloads for you to consider. Some will help reduce your carbon footprint or save energy, others will inform you about the food that you eat or the products you buy, what they all have in common, is that they all want to help you live a greener life.

Carpooling made easy: ‘Avego’ (Free)Avego_icon

Avego is basically a big carpooling network. You can browse the app to find a ride that’s going your way and then call or message the driver to arrange a pick up. When you arrive at your destination there’s a payment for the driver based on the distance travelled (your share of the gas money), and you can both review the ride. All the data is shared with the Avego community. You can meet new people and save the planet at the same time (or at least save some money).

Platforms: Android | iOS | Windows Phone

Avego

Socially responsible shopping: ‘GoodGuide’ (Free)GoodGuide_icon

You can use the barcode scanner on your smartphone and the GoodGuide app when you shop to find out whether products are safe, healthy, green, and socially responsible. GoodGuide has rated more than170,000 U.S. products and the app will give you an overall score broken down by criteria. It has various categories from food, to baby and kids, to household cleaners. Check up on what you are buying before you buy it.

Platforms: Android | iOS

GoodGuide

Get rid of paper mail: ‘PaperKarma’ (Free)PaperKarma_icon

Junk mail is an endless parade of waste paper that often goes through your letterbox and straight into the garbage without being opened. What if you could stop the avalanche? PaperKarma allows you to photograph a piece of junk mail and choose to unsubscribe from the mailing list. All you have to do is take the photo and tap “Unsubscribe” and the app does the rest for you. It only works for junk mail that is actually addressed to you, but what a great idea!

Platforms: Android | iOS | Windows Phone

PaperKarma

Making energy conservation a game: ‘JouleBug’ (Free)JouleBug_icon

If you need a little motivation to lead a greener life, or you want to get your kids thinking about the environment then the JouleBug app is for you. It is packed with tips and information about how to save energy in your everyday life. The actions you can take have been gamified so you can earn badges and compete with others in your quest to be eco-friendly. If that doesn’t convince you then maybe the potential money savings will, the makers claim you can save an average of $200 a year by following the advice in the app.

Platforms: Android | iOS

JouleBug

Ways to recycle near you: ‘iRecycle’ (Free)iRecycle_icon

Whatever you need to recycle this app has the answer. It has over 1,500,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials, and using your current location it can identify a recycling solution near you. Everything is clearly categorized and the interface is well laid out. It’s quick and easy to use, so now you have no excuse not to recycle properly.

Platforms: Android | iOS

iRecycle

Help stop overfishing: ‘Seafood Watch’ (Free)Seafood_Watch_icon

There are few things more delicious than fresh seafood, but if we aren’t careful we could end up fishing some of the tastiest treats out of existence. This app is about identifying sustainable fishing and farming sources. You’ll also find all kinds of information on seafood, what to avoid, and good substitutes for the seafood to avoid. Best of all, Seafood Watch gives you a map of the best seafood stores and restaurants near you that serve up fresh, sustainable seafood.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Seafood_Watch

Avoid pesticides: ‘Dirty Dozen’ (Free)Dirty_Dozen_icon

Everybody knows that fruit and vegetables are an integral part of a healthy diet, but do you know about the risks of pesticides? This app helps you to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful contaminated produce. There is loads of useful information as the Environmental Working Group highlights the 12 types of produce most likely to be contaminated and the best alternatives. It’s very illuminating and somewhat surprising.

Available on: Android | iOS | Windows Phone

Dirty_Dozen

Find good, local food: ‘Locavore’ (Free)Locavore_icon

One of the main problems with the way we operate, is that we are constantly transporting things, including food, long distances, and it uses up resources and contributes to pollution. The simple idea behind Locavore is help you find good, local food. There are lots of great farmer’s markets listed and you’ll find a guide to what is actually in season at your location.

Platforms: Android | iOS

Locavore

That’s it for our roundup of environmentally conscious apps, but if you have another eco-friendly app that you want to recommend, please do post a comment.