Along with all the other interesting things that an iPhone can do – allow you to read free books, listen to Elvis radio, and never be out of tweeting range, for instance – a few of its more than 50,000 apps can make an environmental impact on your life.
Which ones will be most useful depends on your interests. Do you really need to clutter up your iPhone's screen with the free Greenpeace Tissue Guide? Or is learning about the most environmentally responsible tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins a topic better researched on the computer?
Similarly, the idea of iRecycle is appealing. It helps you find nearby places to recycle almost anything – from motor oil to an old cellphone – and gives additional information about recycle center, such as their hours, website URL, and a map with directions to get you there.
But it seems most useful when you've just moved to a new locality. Still, it might be a handy, much-used app for some. It's also free.
Yes, you could print it and take it with you when you eat out. But the fact is, often the list is home and you're in a restaurant trying to recall if flounder from the East Coast is OK and the West Coast is to be avoided – or if it's the opposite.
Green Card, which lets you share your virtual business card with anyone in your contacts list, could be useful for those who have a thick address book. If you change your address, phone number, etc., after you've sent your card to someone, it will automatically update the people who received the original card.
It's free, but it would be handier if it beamed your card to those you just met at a convention or trade show. (There's at least one app that does that, but the other person has to have an iPhone with the program installed.)
Most of the "green living" apps seem rather simplistic. If you're interested in the environment at all, you probably already know the tips they deliver, or think they're just common sense. Get Green (99 cents) is more informative and allows you to save the tips you want to remember and even share them with friends.
Shopping apps may or may not be useful, depending on what you're looking for. The best of the lot is 3rdWhale Mobile, which lets you find thousands of green businesses in hundreds of US and Canadian cities. (There's now a free version as well as a premium one that costs $1.99.)
You can also keep up with all the green news – from sustainable living to the latest on the climate – with GreenSpot, which costs $1.99.
Has anyone tried one of the the car apps, such as greenMeter ($5.99), to help evaluate your fuel efficiency? Or do you have other apps with an environmental emphasis that you'd like to recommend to others?
Editor’s note: For more articles about the environment, see the Monitor’s main environment page, which offers information on many environment topics. Also, check out our Bright Green blog archive and our RSS feed. Or become a Twitter follower.