If your smartphone is your constant companion, you’re not alone — according to Pew Research Center, 64% of Americans own one. What’s more, your smartphone is good for a lot more than updating Facebook and playing Clash of Clans — it’s the perfect catalyst for a more eco-conscious life.
Using your smartphone to kickstart an environmentally friendly life starts with picking the right device. For instance, with its newest upgrade, the iPhone 6s went a lot further than 3D touch, it became even more environmentally friendly than before. Apple managed to reduce their carbon emissions 14 -16 percent from the previous year’s models — in part by cutting the carbon emissions produced when manufacturing the aluminum used in the phone’s enclosure.
Do your research when purchasing a new device. Many companies are doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint — a sign that they’re working toward a better future. The greener your phone is, the better.
Wanna know something awesome? You don’t have to use electricity to charge your smartphone. No, really! Using the power of the sun, kinetic energy, or even warmth, there are a number of unique chargers out there that you don’t have to plug into an electrical outlet. My personal favorites are the Voltaic Systems 4.0W Solar Charger, and the K-Tor® Pocket Socket 2. Furthermore, the future may bring us even more interesting options, like a charger powered by potted plants!
Smartphones are all about apps. Apps to help you tip better, apps to keep in touch with your friends, apps to watch movies on — and apps to reduce your footprint.
Transit is a great way help you cut back on fuel use, while still getting you to your destination safely and on time. You can use it to plan a trip on public transit, find the nearest bike-share, or even hail an Uber.
If you’re the competitive type, then this app is for you. By showing how to make your everyday tasks more environmentally friendly, and then giving you points for completing each action, it turns sustainable living into a game! You can even invite your friends to join and compete to see who’s gaining the most points. To top it off, the app features a yearly impact calculator so you can see the difference that you’re making in both your life and the world.
Need to know where your nearest recycling centers are? iRecycle can help you with that! Pinpoint the nearest location to recycle specific items, gain access to more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials, and get vital details for collection points (website, phone number, directions, hours of operation, etc.)
A smart thermostat can help you save energy by heating or cooling your home in the most efficient way possible. You can use ecobee to heat and cool specific rooms, set a schedule for when you’re awake or asleep, or adjust temperatures when no one is home. The smartphone app syncs with the system so you can monitor and control your heating and cooling anytime and anywhere, helping you reduce the energy you consume and cut your energy bill.
A Green Death
Unfortunately, even our smartphones have a finite life. When your phone finally bites the big one (or you trade it in for a new model), don’t throw it away. The battery is most likely made of lithium, which is potentially toxic substance and shouldn’t be thrown out in the garbage.
It’s strange to think that by teaming up with your smartphone, you can live a greener life that has the possibility to make the world a better place for future generations. But sometimes, all we really need to make a difference is a little nudge.