Today, Friday, April 22nd is officially Earth Day in the United States. For some, Earth Day passes by just like Columbus Day (October 12th) or Video Games Day (July 8th), but it is a day celebrated by the green community and a gentle reminder to be extra kind to Mother Earth today.
The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970 and was originally founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in. In 1990, Earth Day became an international holiday with organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.
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Let’s start out simple. A Real Tree is about as easy as it gets. For less than a dollar, download the app, and a real tree will be planted in one of 12 countries fighting deforestation including Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Burundi, Senegal, Zambia, India, Philippines and Haiti.
Buy it here: iOS ($.99)
Produced by Earth911, the U.S.’s largest recycling directory, iRecycle makes it easy to find over 800 recycling locations and places to drop-off old cell phones (and 240 other materials). It even gives you directions to drop off centers within the app (U.S. only).
The app streams articles covering green trends and ideas in product stewardship and recycling from Earth911’s network. It also lets you browse local green events in the simple Events Search Tab.
GoodGuide helps you find “safe, healthy and green products” in a store and on the go by browse, search or barcode scan. Use it to look up more than 70,000 products in Food, Personal Care, Household Cleaners, Toys and Paper categories. Users can also make personalized recommendation lists of safe and healthy products that are shareable on Twitter and Facebook.
Seafood Watch by Monterey Bay Aquarium is a handy tool to help you choose ocean-friendly seafood at nearby restaurants and stores. You can sort seafood by “Best Choice,” “Good Alternative” or “Avoid” rankings. The app includes complete information about how your potential dinner is fished or farmed. Its new Project FishMap feature lets you contribute to the app as well by adding the names of restaurants and stores where you’ve found sustainable seafood.
GreenMeter is a very sweet app that computes your vehicle’s power and fuel usage, evaluates your driving (acceleration, aerodynamic drag, and rolling resistance) to reduce fuel consumption and cost, thus lowering your environmental impact. Results are displayed in real time, while driving, to give you instant feedback. You can also use greenMeter before you get into the car by tipping your phone forwards and backwards to simulate acceleration. Greenmeter says the software can pay for itself within 1-2 tanks of gas.
Download the mobile app here: iOS only ($5.99)
LocalReuse acts like a social network for people to give away or collect unwanted items like couches, bikes or old lamps. Think of it like the Free Stuff section of Craigslist in your pocket. In the end, the handy app helps save our landfills from pile up. While they haven’t officially launched yet (check their site to be signed up for email updates), the concept is a winner.
While there are plenty of apps that will point you in the direction of the nearest gas station, GreenFuel is the only app that helps you locate alternative fuel stations in the United States (with more locations outside of the U.S. coming soon). The app allows you to see what stations exist along any route to better prepare you for long trips and save you from unknowingly running out of fuel. Users can search by current location, zip code, station name and alternative fuel types including compressed natural gas, biodiesel, electric, ethanol (E85), hydrogen, liquefied natural gas and liquified petroleum gas.
Download the mobile app here: iOS ($1.99)
Android users? Check out Green-Driver Alternative Fuel ($2.99), which includes 8,000 alternative fuel stations in the U.S and DriveAlternatives (Free), which functions the same but with less handy features, (hey you get what you pay for).
ShopGreen lets users calculate, log and save green actions to reduce their carbon footprint in the built-in “Eco-Bank.” The app includes daily “green” tips like “buy eco-friendly lightbulbs” and “bring your own shopping bag”. The app even pushes location aware specials and discounts offered through partnerships with green companies. Points in your Eco-Bank can be used to receive rewards in the form of coupons and specials at these locations.
This week, Ecobold launched its online marketplace to buy and sell green products, and it’s a particularly good resource for merchants looking for a selling platform. Every day, the site’s editors feature one product with an informative video review and a 24-hour flash sale. To celebrate its launch along with Earth Day, Ecobold will plant a tree for every person that signs up for their free video recommendation newsletter here.
EcoSquid is a New York based startup that acts like the Kayak for gadget recycling. Simply type in the type of gadget you own and check off quality and equipment specifications, then EcoSquid aggregates the best services that will buy or accept the product with relevant cash back and shipping information.
EcoSquid not only makes donating your gadgets painlessly easy but it offers an incentive to do so. Users can earn points for simply learning about recycling programs, clicking around on the site, offloading equipment and for referring friends. Users can then redeem those points for upgrades. For example, 1,000 points can be earned by referring 5 friends and will earn you a free Droid X. EcoSquid works with licensed dealers to provide upgrades.
(See our full story on EqoSquid.)
Interested in other Earth friendly initiatives? Check out our latest articles on AMEE, the carbon data engine that will save us from mass extinction, and OPOWER, a company that is about to save the U.S. $500 million in energy bills. Also check out Team EcoEtsy’s 2nd annual Handmade Earth Day Auction by clicking on the icon on the right. EcoEtsy is a global team of eco-minded Etsy sellers, dedicated to protecting the planet by utilizing methods to reduce carbon footprints in managing their businesses.
And Happy Earth Day!