Sustainability could be the tech world’s mantra in 2015. From Tesla’s game changing solar batteries to the controversy surrounding VW’s diesel engines, the world is watching how we treat the environment more than ever. Thankfully, our phones have made it easier than ever to ‘go green’ with a host of apps and tricks to give a little back.

Apps for sustainability

It might seem like a daunting exercise, but there’s a wealth of help when deciding to go carbon-neutral. Tracking your energy use is the best way to figure out where you can make savings on your consumption. Start with Carbon Tracker, which uses GPS to record how much vehicle travel makes up your carbon footprint. Inside the home, Green Outlet takes appliance brand and hours of use to calculate not just your carbon footprint, but your monthly bill (and the steps you can take to reduce it). Juice Defender finds the background apps you are not using, pausing them and saving you on unnecessary energy consumption. And lastly, Electricity Calculator estimates costs and the lifetime savings you could achieve by switching your appliances or settings. You could find using just one appliance a little less could have a huge effect on both!

Your phone can also be a huge help when deciding what to purchase. GoodGuide is your supermarket friend, scanning the barcode of products to find out how they rate from health, society and environment benefits. And if you’re looking local, the LocalHarvest site uses your map to point out the most sustainable businesses in your area. For one of those micro-moments of sustainable consideration many of us go through, Seafood Watch can help you order sustainably fished fish at restaurants, and Wise Up On Waste helps home (and professional) cooks see where wastage is occurring.

From A to B: How to travel greener

Our cars present one of the biggest challenges to maintaining a carbon neutral presence, and while environmental advances from the likes of Tesla and Google will flip the car industry upside down in the near future, mobiles can help us improve what we’re working with now. Start with GPS sensation Waze, which helps you plan your daily route with constantly updated traffic and construction information for the most direct route, Fuel Log tracks mileage and fuel expenses so you can monitor exactly how efficient your driving is, whilst Green Gas Saver analyses your driving to let you know how you could be optimising your travels.

How your business can help

In Australia, we use on average 230kg of paper per person per year.

With that alarming stat in mind, going paperless presents a huge cost saving opportunity to businesses that seek to improve productivity and tout a green message. Digitising your documents allows for easy organisation and search of records, with real-time collaboration and cost-reductions a nice side benefit. Apps like Dropbox (for cloud-based storage), Evernote (for any note-taking and lists), Turboscan (to scan those external invoices, receipts and documents), Unilever Food Solutions (cost-cutting tools) and XERO (for stunning cloud-based financial management) are all leading the way for offices to go completely paperless – and businesses are taking notice. The Commonwealth Bank’s innovative Darling Harbour office is a completely paper-free zone for the 5,000 employees who call it home, and Majestic Invites estimate they save around $50,000 a year from cutting paper use out of their office.

Recycling will save you money!

According to Clean Up Australia, only around 50% of Australia’s rubbish is recycled annually, with many recycling opportunities lost to a lack of knowledge. Recycle Nation provides a comprehensive list to what can be recycled and how, as well as tips and tricks to live your greenest life. RecycleNearYou does exactly what it suggests, helping you find your closest recycling centre depending on what you want to submit.

Australians replace or change their phones every 12-18 months on average, so recycling them is a critical step in your green mobile mission. Phones that are still working can be refurbished and sent for reuse in overseas countries that will benefit from their lower cost. By sending your phone for re-use, you are extending the lifespan of your device by 5-7 years, whilst providing affordable telecommunications to those in countries South Africa and Tonga. Devices that are unusable can be recycled (including batteries, sim cards, and handsets) by MRI, one of Australia’s leading e-waste recyclers. Just 300g of gold taken from mobile parts saves mining 110 tonnes of gold ore. For more mobile recycling tips, visit Clean Up.

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Tanya Phull

Head of Social Media

Tanya Phull,
Head of Social Media

As head of social media at Vodafone, Tanya is an expert in customer engagement and emerging platforms. As an American-born expat and wanderluster, Tanya is always equipped with the best tech tips for travellers.