ByLeigh Garofalow

Oct 21, 2014

We use our phones for all sorts of things – entertainment, information and connection with others.  These marvels of technological wonder also give many of us the ability to go paperless. 

Ponder these stats…

  • The U.S. consumes 69 million tons of paper and paperboard every year
  • Each year, more than 2 billion books, 350 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers are published

Is it time to ‘purge the paper’?  Here are 10 apps that will help you reduce the amount of paper you use every year.  

  • Evernote is the most popular and dynamic app that helps you manage your notes, receipts, and documents that are emailed to you. You can use this app across platforms making it ideal for note-taking and information management in general. You can have the app on your phone or device and then see the items on your desktop when logged into your account. Evernote also allows you to save attachments you receive in your email seamlessly in the app for easy reference and reading. It even has technology that can read your handwriting and convert it to text making it one of the most dynamic apps that you can have to eliminate paper in your life.
  • Google Drive is a great app for those who use Google Docs frequently. This app links to your Google Docs and allows you to edit them from your mobile devices. It is a great app for a person who travels often or works collaboratively with others and needs to change documents quickly and on the go. You will need to install other apps like Google Slides…etc. depending on what kinds of documents you create.
  • News and book apps like Kindle, Nook, Zinio, NYTimes, Press Reader and other newspaper/magazine apps allow you to read the print versions on your phone, computer or other electronic devices like an iPad or Kindle. All of these apps require some sort of subscription or one-time purchase to the content you are reading but the apps themselves are all free. These apps alone can save tons of paper per year from being produced and consumed. Looking to power your cell phone or tablet with the sun? We’ve got your solution. 
  • Epicurious is fantastic for the cook and grocery shopper in the household. You can save your own recipes in the app as well as save other recipes you like from various sources on the web. One of the best parts of the app is the grocery list function, it creates a grocery list from the recipes you are have marked for the grocery list. This app is particularly helpful for holiday meal planning.
  • CamCard is a great app that helps you ditch the business cards. This app uses the camera on your phone to read business cards or allows you to swap information with other CamCard users. It allows you to sort, add notes, and other functions that make this more than just a business card storage app. The free version has some limitations if you are a heavy user but the free version should be adequate for most users.
  • Adobe EchoSign lets you sign documents via the app rather than having to print them out just to sign them. The app is compatible with SkyDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box accounts making it easy to manage with your existing document systems. This is a free app but does require a subscription if you are going to use it more than 5 times per month.

What apps have you found helpful in reducing your paper waste?  

Feature image courtesy of Johan Larsson

By Leigh Garofalow

Leigh Garofalow is a self described 'born environmentalist' who won a recycling poster contest in 3rd grade and has been green ever since. She is a mother of two children under the age of 6 who think taking a cloth napkin and their own utensils to school is normal. She loves writing about anything related to health, wellness, and the environment. One day she hopes to make every up-cycled item and recipe she pinned on Pinterest!