It’s almost impossible to purchase products that are fully sustainable or ethically produced, but there are numerous apps you can download for your phone that may help minimize your contribution to companies that adopt unsavory practices.
The idea behind this app is to make reducing your carbon footprint fun and easy. Users answer questions about how often they drive, take public transit, eat local food and other issues that could increase their carbon footprint. The app then compares your carbon footprint against any friends you may have who are also using the app.
Additionally, the app offers advice on how to lower your impact and even how to purchase carbon offsets.
Buycott can be a really useful app for conscientious consumers. The app will scan barcodes on products and give the user information about the company behind it. The database is not complete, but there is definitely a lot of information regarding medium- and large-sized companies.
You can find out if the company behind the product tests on animals, uses prison labor or other practices you may not want to support with your purchases.
iRecycle is a great app when you’re not sure how or where to dispose of electronics, batteries, paint or other items you want to recycle.
The app has info for over 350 items or products that you may wish to dispose of in the most sustainable way possible. Select your item from their list, and the app will match you with the closest available place where the item can be recycled or reused.
The app has information for everything from hazardous waste drop-off centers to places that accept used-clothing donations.
Palm Oil Shopping Guide
Palm oil is in almost half of all household products, including shampoo, baking products and toothpaste. Unfortunately palm oil is often produced through unsustainable means.
In Borneo and Sumatra, often companies will clearcut rainforest instead of using already cleared lands, leaving the local orangutan populations in jeopardy. Orangutans have lost 90 percent of their habitat in the last 20 years, leading to what many are referring to as a “conservation emergency.”
The Palm Oil Shopping Guide grades products on how well the companies do at avoiding palm oil made from unsustainable practices. The products are listed alphabetically and categorized by type.
One Today by Google is a really easy way to not only donate to charities and non-profits, but also a way to encourage others to do so.
Users of the app start by clicking several categories of causes that are important to them and then the One Today app provides a list of charities that can be donated to. The app seems to encourage small donations, such as one dollar, or picking a cause and choosing to match one dollar for every dollar someone else donates. The idea of the app is that these types of donations make it easier for a charitable cause to “go viral.”
Several smaller or more niche charities seem to be featured in the app as well, which allows users to quickly scroll through a list of smaller charities and causes they might not be aware of.
The Center for Food Safety’s app, True Food, is a good one to go to for help if you want to avoid GMO food. The app has a very detailed list of products categorized by type and is also a good general resource on genetically modified foods and their alternatives.
The True Food app also supplies information on some of the Center’s other campaigns and actions you can take to help encourage the industry to develop more sustainable practices.
Farmstand is a great app for those who want to support local farmers. The app tracks your location and lists all the nearby farmers markets, their hours and other relevant information. More fun than just finding out where the markets are, you can also use the app to connect with others nearby who eat local or the vendors themselves. Vendors will often post updates or pictures of what they’re selling at the market through the app as well, which can help you decide which market to visit that day.
Smart Foods Organic Diet Buddy
This adorably named app is useful for anyone who wants to eat organic. Different than the Center for Food Safety app in that it does not go into detail on companies but rather provides information on which foods are most often genetically modified and which will contain higher levels of pesticide residue. For instance, cauliflower will rarely contain pesticide residue but cucumbers carry a heavy dose of toxic pesticides.
The Cruelty-Free app lists companies and products that have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program to not use animal testing at any stage in the development of their products or in any of the supplies they purchase from other companies. The app was developed by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC).
The Leaping Bunny Program is a collection of non-profit animal rights/welfare organizations that have been providing a third-party verification program for companies that engage in cruelty-free practices. Companies that meet the Leaping Bunny standard of cruelty-free will have the Leaping Bunny logo placed on their products.
Any of the above-mentioned apps make it easier for you to have a positive impact on the world around you and are available for free.