Too often we think of our technology as the cause of environmental issues, rather than the solution for it. However, if you’re worried about your carbon footprint, it might just be worth your time to see if you can use your technical savvy for good. Because there are a lot of little things you can do that will help, and programs you can take advantage of to be a little greener. Here are five great examples of ways to use technology to be more green:
#1: Free Digital Entertainment
While a lot of us have had impressive collections of DVDs, books, etc., those things all take resources to manufacture and distribute. Digital books and streaming movies create no physical media and thus are a great deal more eco-friendly. Even better, if you turn to Overdrive (a service provided through Rakuten), you can rent items for free from your local library. While different libraries use different apps and programs, this saves you the time and fuel to go to the library, cuts down on physical media use, and saves you money. It’s an all-around win.
#2: Using Your Search Activity To Plant Trees
How many times a day do you use a search engine like Google? What if your activity could actually plant trees? Well, that’s what Ecosia does. It lets you use technology to be more green. The search engine keeps a running tally of how many trees users have helped plant, and it provides a monthly breakdown about where its efforts went, and where reforestation is happening. Completely transparent, it helps you turn your search activity to a good cause.
#3: Efficiency Apps
Technology has the potential to save us so much time and energy that it’s amazing to think about. The Waze GPS app, for example, allows you to find the fastest route to your destination, avoiding traffic as you go. Apps like GasBuddy allow us to see at the touch of a button which gas stations have the least expensive fuel, saving us the time and effort of driving around looking for the best deal. There are thousands of apps out there that allow us to use less energy, spend less time behind the wheel, find the best bargain, etc., and by using them we’re spending fewer resources.
#4: Find Free Stuff
We all know that it’s better to get gently used items when you need something, and from furniture to baby clothes, you can find a lot of things free to a good home on Freecycle. By making the items available to a good home that will actually use them, people minimize their own clutter, while simultaneously keeping their stuff out of a landfill.
#5: Gently Used Items From Amazon
We all use Amazon, but if you feel guilty about getting completely new stuff, then you should take a moment to check out Amazon Warehouse. This is where you can get refurbished, gently used, or returned items that wouldn’t otherwise be for sale. Whether you need a new-to-you smartphone or a winter coat that’s going to hold up, you can save money while also avoiding the burden of getting a completely new item. A handy addition to any thrift store shopping you’re already doing.