3 Green Apps for America Recycles Day
The term “go green” has come a long way in recent years. It no longer means that you have to stop showering, turn vegan or chain yourself to a 200-year-old tree about to be turned into lumber. But it might mean that you drive a hybrid, make your own compost or buy local fruits and vegetables.
You may find a certain degree of irony attempting to go green by using a device you plug into an electrical outlet night after night, but that’s precisely the point. Being green is about acknowledging that environmental issues have no quick solution—and in most cases, no extreme solution. It’s the culmination of billions of tiny, individual environmental decisions that will hopefully add up to something bigger. Where better a place to start than in the palm of your hand? In honor of America Recycles Day, we’ve rounded up three of the best apps for going green.
Even if you’re only a few months into that two-year stranglehold of a contract with your smartphone carrier, you need to face the facts: your phone isn’t going to last forever. Neither is your computer, your refrigerator or your car. Even though these expensive electronics are much more difficult to recycle than your empty Starbucks cup, doing so properly is vital for environmental wellbeing. Batteries, metals and cooling systems, for example, can have harmful effects on the environment if not disposed of properly.
iRecycle features a database to help go green. It allows users to look up the best places to recycle almost anything from batteries to old furniture. As easy as it is to stuff everything in the trash and watch it disappear from the curbside, taking the time to properly dispose of hazardous materials at a proper recycling center is one of the best ways for you to be part of the solution.
Of course, you’ll still need to do some leg work: Calling a location to confirm their recycling capabilities and hours of operation before dragging your old fridge all the way there is recommended.
A big part of being green is being informed. Whether weighing the merits of a new hybrid or engaging in a lively debate about global warming, being well read always trumps resorting to hearsay. Al Gore’s interactive environmental e-book app, Our Choice, has information in spades—and information presented in convincing fashion.
Regardless of what you think of Al Gore, his political views or his crusade against global warming, Our Choice is a green app worth checking out. The beautiful, fully interactive e-book gives users a preview at what the future of publishing might look like: photos, videos, charts and graphs, and integrated maps, all presented inline and controlled with multitouch technology.
If fast information in persuasive packaging is a weapon, then Al Gore is arming his forces.
Powering all your new environmentally conscious apps is going to take battery life. Your smartphone uses a relatively small amount of battery power, but, as something we use each day, it isn’t something we should take for granted. JuiceDefender is a handy battery app that allows for systematic or custom control over your phone’s battery life. By automatically monitoring and turning on or off smartphone features such as 4G, 3G, Wi-Fi and data, it’s ideal for getting that extra squeeze from your Android battery life.
While these are all things you can do yourself if you tweak the power settings to your liking, it’s nice to have them taken care of automatically. Say you go into a movie theater that’s a dead zone: Instead of draining half your smartphone battery searching for service for 2 hours, JuiceDefender will make your phone dormant until you’re somewhere with service again.
But no matter how much fiddling and monitoring you do, a vast majority of your phone’s battery will always be drained by powering the screen. So if you’re a compulsive time checker, perhaps the greenest way to extend your battery life is to buy a watch.