Technology is often thought of as time-saving, convenient and sometimes just plain fun, but your smartphone is also a powerful tool for conservation and smarter choices.
Digital news, books and emails all cut down on paper usage, but they also reduce waste and emissions from manufacturing and transportation. New technology lets you control your thermostat or sprinkler system from your smartphone, which conserves energy and water, and popular websites have opened up a global marketplace for selling and buying used goods. These technologies, when combined with mobile applications, provide resources and knowledge that allow you to better "Take Care of Texas" from the palm of your hand.
There are many green apps available, but here are a few to get started:
- Amy Martin of GreenSourceDFW.org gives readers an ultimate guide to free and pay nature apps: North Texas Wild: Smart phone apps enhance your connection to nature Opens a New Window. .
- Cut down on unwanted catalogs with PaperKarma Opens a New Window. . Simply take a picture of the catalog address label, submit it through the app and they remove you from the catalog’s mailing list.
- Do you ever stand in the aisle not knowing which soap or coffee to buy? Let GoodGuide Opens a New Window. help you choose the more environmentally friendly products. Use your phone to scan the barcode of an item, and see how it scores against other products of its kind.
- Find local, convenient recycling opportunities on-the-go with iRecycle, brought to you by Earth911 Opens a New Window. . iRecycle lets you sort over 350 materials and gives you the recycling center's or store’s phone number, hours, address, website and list of accepted materials.
- Explore the great outdoors with the Project Noah app Opens a New Window. , a tool to explore and identify plants, birds and mammals while outside in Texas parks and gardens. Document your findings, read about local spotting events or join a mission.
- Roadcents Opens a New Window. from Drive Clean Texas is a Web app that allows drivers to calculate their per-mile driving cost based on driving habits, maintenance history, road conditions and miles driven.
- Visit the Save the Rain website Opens a New Window. and learn how much water you can save by collecting what comes off your roof. Simply type in your address, mark the corners of your roof and the application will calculate your annual water savings based on the size and slope of your roof, as well as your local average rainfall. Results are provided in metric, but these can be easily converted by visiting Metric-Conversions.org.