Believe it or not, just by owning a tablet PC you could be doing the environment a huge favor. How so? Because by migrating the majority of your media viewing, gaming, and browsing activities to an LCD tablet, you’re spending far less time on those big-time energy guzzlers like your laptop, game console, or big screen TV. The net result is a decrease of your carbon footprint. Ok, it’s not on par with installing solar panels on your roof, but at least it’s a step in the ‘green’ direction. Want to do more? Here are 8 free tablet apps to make you greener.
Light Bulb Finder (Android, iOS)
Buying energy efficient light bulbs is a great start to living green. But just like using the wrong motor oil on your lawnmower will result in minimum efficiency, the same goes for your home’s light fixtures. Light Bulb Finder is a handsome app with a gorgeous 3D background that not only looks good, it also delivers helpful intel to help you save on your electricity bill – like estimated bulb costs, lifetime savings, annual energy savings, and the amount of yearly CO2 reduction that you can affect by using the right kinds of light bulbs for your fixtures.
My Recycle List (Android, iOS)
Powered by 1-800-RECYCLING.com, this is an application that tells you where to go to recycle a huge variety of things you may not have even realized were recyclable. Like old CDs, eye glasses, fertilizer, and carpeting. My Recycle List is divided into nine individual categories that include plastics, electronics, paper, glass, metal, automotive, yard, hazardous, and household items. Under each of those categories is a more in-depth breakdown of the items you’re looking to recycle. Using GPS or manual ZIP Code entry (your choice), the application lists nearby places that accept your recyclables, and even includes the establishment’s address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and finds it on Google Maps.
Amazon Kindle (Android, iOS)
Now that you’ve got an app to tell you where to go to recycle your old paper, your next logical step is to decrease the amount of new paper products you use. That includes books and periodicals. Amazon’s free Kindle app, which is downloadable for a broad range of devices but looks especially sweet on your tablet PC screen, will enable you to do that without asking you to sacrifice your brain in the process. What’s even more valuable about downloading the Kindle reader app is that you get access to literally hundreds of free classic books that you’d otherwise have to shell out dollars for at the local bookstore – if they even carry them in stock. You can also buy electronic versions of your favorite newspapers and magazines. Amazon frequently runs deeply discounted eBook specials for those who enjoy reading for next to nothing, but would still like the occasional taste of something semi-contemporary. The best part? You don’t have to buy a Kindle eReader as long as you have your tablet PC.
Gas Buddy (Android, iOS)
Everybody knows that the burning of fossil fuels isn’t exactly high up there on the list of stuff to do if you want to “go green”, but even the most stalwart of environmentalists have to be able to get from Point A to Point B. By using the Gas Buddy app, which zeroes in on your GPS location and delivers a real time, frequently updated list of nearby gas stations and their prices, you can kill two birds with one stone: listing the cheapest gas prices in the area, and doing so without having to drive around all day to find them. Gas Buddy also gives you extra convenient information, like pay at pump availability, hours of operation, and additional services offered by stations.
Tiny Flashlight + LED (Android, iOS)
Here’s another opportunity to kill a handful of birds with one app. Not only does having Tiny Flashlight + LED loaded onto your tablet mean never having to search your kitchen drawer for unused batteries if you need a flashlight in a pinch, it also empowers you to liberate yourself from annoying battery use altogether. Of course, this app is probably not the best choice if you’re planning on roaming the woods in the middle of the night, but it can certainly come in handy as a bedside nightlight, with brightness and color that can be adjusted by swiping your finger across the screen. The app also offers flashing yellow warning lights and flashing police lights, which could possibly come in handy if you’re broken down roadside and want to attract attention. If your tablet PC has a built in LED camera flash, it can be turned into a more powerful and focused flashlight.
Energy Costs Calculator (Android)
One of the most effective tools in the hands of the aspiring conservationist is knowledge. For example, knowing how much it’s costing you to take that 45-minute shower every morning, as well as exactly how many gallons of water you could save by shaving off a half hour here or there. This can be sobering enough to make you opt for less wasteful methods of waking up – like a strong pot of coffee, which requires significantly less water to make. The Energy Costs Calculator app also gives you information on the power consumption of various devices throughout your home, and provides helpful energy and water saving tips.
Green Power Battery Saver (Android)
If having to constantly recharge your tablet PC is getting in the way of your attempts to cut back on your home electricity consumption, downloading Green Power Battery Saver could be the answer. By automatically managing and turning off your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other mobile data, you can boost your battery’s longevity by a significant margin. The app is fully configurable and supports Ice Cream Sandwich, Honeycomb, Gingerbread, and Froyo operating systems for the broadest range of Android devices.
Good Guide (Android, iOS)
One of the keys to living green is by voting with your wallet. The trouble is, unless you’re a walking encyclopedia, it’s hard to remember which food brands or product manufacturers you should be supporting, and which ones you should be avoiding. Good Guide allows you to punch up a particular product by browsing through categories, searching by specific name, or directly scanning a bar code. The application’s database of over 170,000 products returns search results that assign a specific rating from 0 to 10, with 10 being the best possible rating. Factors taken into consideration include the product’s safety, health, and environmental rating based on the company’s reputation for participating in green initiatives. This is the only application included on this list that’s not tablet optimized, meaning that it automatically locks to portrait orientation on your screen. But in this case, Good Guide’s functionality outweighs any nitpicky drawbacks and makes it worthy of inclusion.