10 Best Apps to Becoming an Eco-Conscious Consumer
Want to learn how to live an eco-conscious life? Download these apps.
I’ve made it easy for you by separating the chaff from the wheat.
Living a greener and by default healthier life can feel overwhelming. The ingredients on the back of your shampoo bottle more suitable to interpretation by a chemist than an eco-conscious shopper. The technical jargon on electro-magnetic fields only translatable by a physicist. It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel.
But hold your horses! Over the course of this blog series, I will lead you to the water. I will show you that there is a decent App for just about anything. Better still most of them are free!
Eco-conscious Living? There’s an App for that!
This first part of the series will help you choose sustainable food, clothes, cosmetics, toiletries, baby items, appliances, office supplies and the like.
Yet to come are the best apps to help you run a green home, cut your energy usage and carbon footprint, detect EMF radiation, breathe cleaner air, compost and recycle waste, educate your eco-children and much more!
My advice: keep it simple. Don’t download everything. Start with one or two priorities, gain confidence, move on.
1. The Good Guide
This App provides consumers with the information they need to make better shopping decisions. Products are rated (0-10) based on the level of data provided by companies, ingredients hazards as well as other negative aspects. You can scan various categories of products: Personal Care, Food, Household, Babies and Kids. Although it focuses on items made in the USA many of them you will recognise as they are available globally.
2. Shop Ethical
This fabulous Australian-developed App has stacks of information on how ethical the companies are that make everything from your writing pen, the gin you drink and the food you give your dog. Includes a barcode scanner for use in shops. Covers appliances, baby items, clothing, electronics, food, drink, toys, pets, personal care, office supplies, household items and retail outlets. Well worth having as a staple in your App library. $5
3. Think Dirty
Works similar to the above two Apps. Scan cosmetic and personal care products to see how they rate on chemical constituents. Has over 550,000 items listed but mostly from the USA and Canada. Be mindful that some of the ingredients in Think Dirty score high because studies show that they may be allergens. While individuals with allergies may have reactions to certain ingredients, that doesn’t mean those ingredients are necessarily unsafe for all of us. So, use common sense! None of these Apps is perfect so you may need to use a combination to get the information you need. UPDATE: There are unconfirmed reports that Think Dirty has been taken over by a large multi-national consumer corporation and their focus has moved away from rating household products (many items previously rated are now Not Rated (NR)) and many items are being ‘down-rated’. Until such time that further information is available, I would use either the Healthy Living (EWG) or Chemical Maze Apps. I will update this post when we know more and will keep this App listed to make everyone aware of this problem.
4. Healthy Living (EWG)
Developed by the Environmental Working Group in the USA the App rates over 120,000 food and personal care products. You can scan a product or search for its name, review its rating and pick a better choice. A free alternative to The Chemical Maze but given it’s developed for the USA you may not always find what you are looking for in Australia. It is still my go to App as it holds the most comprehensive consumer database across the board on the safety of products.
5. The Chemical Maze
Covers chemicals found in your food (additives) and cosmetics/personal care items. Search for a chemical listed on the back of your shampoo bottle to find out how it affects your body and includes a risk rating. It will cover all sorts of personal care and cosmetic items such as deodorant and nail polish. You will be blown away by the findings and you will find products advertised as ‘green’ and ‘healthy’ are often not what they seem. Developed in Australia and also in book form. This is the type of App you will use over and over again. I use it in combination with the EWG App. $10.99
6. Additive Alert
Based on the book by West Australian Julie Eady. Easy to use it allows you to search for Australian and New Zealand food additives by number and name. Not currently available for Apple devices but the iOS App listed below is similar.
7. Chemeleon Food Additive
Similar to above. Really simple to use. All you do is type in a name or number and Chemeleon will instantly let you know via colour coding if the chemical or ingredient in your food is harmful, should be avoided or safe to eat. $5.99
8. Seafood Guide
Developed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Provides a traffic light system to inform the consumer about more sustainable seafood choices for most of the fish you come across. But remember your fishmonger is also there to answer your questions.
Australian App developed in conjunction with Choice. Point your phone at an egg carton and it will indicate whether or not the eggs are really free-range based on the numbers of chickens per hectare. Memorise a couple of brands and then stick to them. You can also use a map to show you the location of your nearest shop that sells ‘good eggs’.
10. Good on you Guide
This is a brilliantly informative Australian-developed App helping you purchase ethical clothing brands using ratings based on impacts to people, animals and planet. Search by brand or store. Includes everything from jeans to bathers to shoes. Considers animal welfare, environmental impact, labour and supply chain.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE APPS FOR BEING ECO-CONSCIOUS?
DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE FOR THE REST OF THE SERIES AND BROWSE THE ECONSCIOUS LIVING SERVICES THAT CAN EMPOWER YOU WITH KNOWLEDGE.
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Images courtesy of: Shop Ethical, Environmental Working Group, Good on You, Additive Alert, Australian Marine Conservation Society
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