As consumers, we come across many occasions in everyday life where we need to make decisions based on the health, safety, and environmental impact of the products we purchase or consume. Often there’s lack of information about the products and the companies that produce them, or the information is difficult to access.
Now there are smartphone apps that will help consumers obtain information related to health and environmental aspects of products.
For consumers who are conscious about selecting safe, healthy, and green products while they are shopping, the GoodGuide
mobile app can help them obtain detailed ratings for health, environmental impact, and social responsibility related to over 120,000 products and companies.
GoodGuide provides this information for a number of product categories, including food, household goods, apparel, personal care items, electronics, pet food, and even cars. Consumers can browse the products by navigating through different categories, search for them using keywords, or simply scan a product’s barcode to instantly obtain information about it and the company that produces it. The app even suggests safer, healthier alternatives for the searched products if they appear to be lacking in criteria for safety, health, or sustainability. Users can also add products to their personal recommended lists for quick access.
The GoodGuide mobile app is freely available for use on iPhone and Android.
Ever had trouble locating nearby recycling locations? There’s an app just meant for you. My Recycle List
is a free smartphone app that allows you to search for nearby recycling depots in a quick and easy way. Based on the user’s location obtained through GPS or ZIP codes, the app searches for recycling sites located close by and provides their addresses. It even lets the user add the recycler to the user’s Recycle List for quick reference.
Further, to make it simple, the app categorizes recycling materials into predefined categories and subcategories, such as electronics, plastic, metal, paper, glass, etc. The user can select multiple materials at a time, and the app displays the recyclers nearby that deal in the selected materials.
My Recycle List app covers over 120,000 recycling locations scattered across USA and Canada and is expanding to include international locations. It is available for download on Apple’s iTunes App Store.
If you happen to be a proponent of animal rights, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) presents you with an app that will allow you to get information on whether the product you wish to buy has been tested on animals or not. BNB (Be Nice to Bunnies) is an iPhone app with an extensive database of cruelty-free products in different categories, along with information about their manufacturers. It also indicates products that are vegan friendly. BNB is available for $2.99 in Apple’s iTunes App Store.
While apps like these are certainly a useful development in creating awareness about the environmental aspects of products and in promoting social responsibility among consumers, their actual impact is yet to be assessed.
— Taimoor Zubair works as a software engineer at a leading BPO solutions company in Pakistan.