Smiling couple looking at mobile app on a phone

Most of us strive to use less energy, consume fewer unnecessary products, reduce our contribution to pollution, and take care of our natural ecosystems. But it isn’t always easy. So, it’s nice to know that with the right apps, you can get recommendations, track your habits, acquire new information, or even develop new, green behaviors that help you live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Here are some of the great apps available that can guide you towards a greener, more environmentally friendly life.

1. iRecycle

Let’s start with iRecycle, the mobile app from Earth911 that helps you pinpoint the nearest available recycling options for specific items. We cover recycling for more than 350 materials and can lead you to more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle.

Enter your current location, ZIP code, address, or city, and we’ll generate a list of the available recycling facilities nearby for each material you need to recycle — along with information like the company’s website, phone number, hours of operation, and of course, directions. Currently, this is available only in the United States and parts of Mexico and Canada.

2. Olio

Buying new products puts a burden on the environment. In addition to the resources required to manufacture new items, we also have to consider the resources spent (and carbon created) by transporting new products to the store where we shop. But with the Olio app, you’ll be able to share and borrow items with other people in your community, reducing the number of new consumer purchases. Share things like food, cleaning products, tools, and more.

3. Oroeco

The Oroeco app is designed to help individuals better understand the impact they have on climate change. With Oroeco, you’ll be able to estimate your carbon footprint based on your lifestyle and evaluate your overall climate impact. From there, you can analyze all your daily habits, from traveling to eating, and make use of actionable tips from the app to make improvements.

4. Water Footprint Calculator

The Water Footprint Calculator is a web app that helps you understand how everyday actions — from washing dishes to buying groceries — contribute to your water footprint. Once you’ve calculated your footprint, you’ll get useful tips to help you reduce your water consumption. The website also features educational resources for teachers and students.

5. Too Good To Go

If you’re in Europe, you may already be familiar with the Danish app, Too Good to Go. The service, which launched in the U.S. in September 2020, connects more than 46 million people with leftover food items from businesses like restaurants, supermarkets, and cafes. By connecting people with food that would otherwise get thrown out, this app has helped people save more than 98 million meals to date, drastically reducing food waste.

6. GreenChoice

Are you aware of how much your food affects climate change? With GreenChoice, you won’t have to blindly speculate. GreenChoice allows you to set your shopping values, dietary preferences, and other parameters to get recommendations for green, environmentally friendly choices. You can compare different food products across different grocery stores (as well as online), and even build and manage your shopping lists for convenience.

7. PaperKarma

How much junk mail does your home receive per day? Chances are that all this paper ends up as waste. But with PaperKarma, you can put a stop to it. Use the app to take a photo of whatever junk mail you no longer want to receive and take yourself off the company’s mailing list permanently.

8. ShareWaste

Do you wish you could compost your food waste but you have no room for a compost bin? ShareWaste helps you find neighbors who will take your extra food scraps and compost them or feed them to their worms or animals (like backyard chickens). Whether you are an individual or you represent a community garden or a cafe, the ShareWaste app helps you keep food waste (and other organics) out of the landfill.

9. HappyCow

Going vegetarian or vegan isn’t for everyone, but you should know that it can make a positive environmental impact. In fact, cutting out meat and dairy products from your daily diet could reduce your carbon footprint by 73%. If you decide to make this lifestyle change, you can use HappyCow to make it easier. The app helps you find vegan- and vegetarian-friendly restaurants all over the world.

10. Ecosia

This is a Chrome extension, not a mobile app, per se, but it’s still worth using. Ecosia is a search engine with one key difference from the search engines you’re used to; it uses the proceeds from advertisements to plant new trees. You can even review their monthly financial reports to make sure you know where the money is going.

Making Changes to Your Lifestyle

Just downloading an app isn’t going to reverse pollution or counteract your carbon footprint. But these and other green apps can be handy tools to help you make eco-friendly changes for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Originally published on November 3, 2020, this article was updated in October 2021.

By Anna Johansson

Anna is a freelance writer, researcher and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and more, Anna loves enjoying the great outdoors with her family. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.