We use our smartphones for almost everything, from finding the perfect restaurant and getting directions to playing games, perusing social media and having 24/7 access to information. But did you know that your smartphone can help you reduce your carbon footprint, too? Here’s how your device can be used as an eco-friendly tool:
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75 percent of the waste generated by Americans can be recycled. However, only 30 percent actually is recycled. Created by Earth911, the iRecycle app helps earth-conscious folks find local recycling opportunities in their community and on the go. The app, which is compatible on iOS and Android devices, is free and offers more than 1.6 million ways to recycle 350 different recyclable materials.
Electronics waste is a big problem in the United States. Not only do electronics contain hazardous materials, they pile up in landfills — and the truth is that they can be recycled and reused. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to buy a refurbished smartphone. Carriers like T-Mobile offer a wide selection of refurbished cellphones, including the Sony Xperia Z1S. This model has a five-inch screen, one of the largest battery capabilities available in a smartphone (300 mAh battery) and is waterproof.
The EPA reports that passenger vehicles like cars, trucks, vans and SUVs make up 62 percent of all the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. And, it’s estimated that light-duty vehicles emit 8,000 pounds of CO2 annually. Commuters who are stuck in rush hour traffic are the biggest polluters. But those traffic headaches can be avoided with the Waze app. The free community-based mapping and traffic navigation app is compatible on both Android, Windows and iOS devices. Millions of drivers work together to share the conditions of the roads via the app while the app directs drivers through the fastest route around congested areas. Not only will you make it to work faster, you’ll save on gas all while reducing your carbon footprint.
There are dozens of apps that help eager environmentalists go paperless. From cloud-based file-sharing apps like Dropbox and Google Drive to note-taking apps like Evernote, these types of applications help preserve the environment by not using any trees — everything is done digitally. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, these apps can help to simplify your life, making it more organized and having documents stored all in one place– in the cloud, and always accessible on with your device.
According to the Department of Energy, cooling and heating account for 48 percent of the energy usage in American homes. However, much of that is wasted. When paired with smart thermostats like Microsoft’s Ecobee, for example, your smartphone becomes your thermostat’s remote control, enabling you to take control over your energy consumption even when you’re on the go. Using a smart thermostat is a smart way to cut down your energy usage, reducing your carbon footprint.