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Want help with making more informed sustainable choices? We’ve road-tested a bunch of free smartphone applications to help you make the most planet-safe decisions from fish to fashion.

1. RecycleSmart

By Planet Ark
Available on all devices

This is your comprehensive recycling guide, no matter where you live. RecycleSmart answers the perennial question: ‘which bin does this thing go in?’ Its database covers 550 councils to categorise waste materials from more than 180 household items.

2. Sustainable Seafood Guide

Sustainable Seafood
By Australian Marine Conservation Society
Available on all devices

This app organises over 90 seafood species into 3 simple groups: what you shouldn’t eat and why, species you should try to avoid and the most sustainable choices. Both Australian and imported species are included. You’ll be covered for most seafood found in fishmongers, supermarkets, fish and chip shops and restaurants.

3. Good On You

By Ethical Consumers Australia
Available on all devices

Finding digestible information on the production processes of most fashion brands is hard. The picture is complex and involves everything from the recycling potential of the material used to the amount of water needed at the manufacturing plant. Luckily, Good On You has done much of the hard work for us.

Using information sourced by independent projects such as Fair Trade and Ethical Clothing Australia, the app has rated over 1,000 brands on labour, environment and animal welfare. The environment assessment takes into account specifics like the use of hazardous dyes and water, among indirect issues like energy efficiency. You’ll need to register to use the app.

4. Energy Rating

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By Department of Industry
Available on all devices

Our appliances are responsible for a huge percentage of our home energy use. This app, brought to you by the same industry body that creates the star rating stickers seen around your home, compares the running costs of popular appliances.

So if you’re in the market for a new washer dryer, air conditioner, TV, computer, dishwasher or fridge, this app can help you make a better purchase. You can look up some of your older appliances to see how much they’re costing you each year too. You’ll just need to know the model of your appliance for the most accurate info.

5. ABC vegie guide

ABCABC2
By Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Available on iOS only

The ABC has created an app that suggests the best month to plant your seedlings, sets a reminder so you know when to harvest them, and offers gardening tips and troubleshooting basics. The app designers have done a beautiful job and you can tailor the information especially for a Sydney (temperate) climate.

SarahWilson
Sarah Wilson. Photo: sarahwilson.com

Sarah Wilson’s favourite green apps

“I use Good Guide to look at ethical and green credentials for various products and also a walking app called Moves. Moves is a wonderful way to incentivise people to walk by counting their steps. I’ve got so many people onto it and they now all get competitive with themselves to see how much walking they can do in a day.”
Sarah Wilson is a New York Times bestselling author and blogger whose journalism career has spanned 20 years, across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. She is an advocate for clean eating and an avid cyclist.

6. Love your Leftovers

LoveYourLeftovers
By Cumberland Council
Available on all devices

As you might already know, organic waste is one of the biggest landfill issues that consumers have a hand in. 1 in 3 kilograms of food is wasted across the country.

So, as well as considering a compost bin or worm farm, you can reduce your impact by whipping up your droopy carrots into a lovely new meal. Search recipes via leftover ingredient and plan your weekly meals all in one place.
This app is great for basics, but once you get your leftover cooking skills up, you might like to explore more inventive recipes elsewhere.
Bonus apps for waste reduction: OLIO connects you with neighbours and local shops, so your excess food and supplies can be shared, and Zero Waste Home is a neat finder for bulk-buy, package-free stores.

7. Choose Cruelty Free

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By Non-profit organisation Choose Cruelty Free (CCF)
Available on all devices

It’s 2017, we don’t need to make animals suffer in order to look good. Is your deodorant or foundation still tested on animals? Consult this handy guide – it lists products including baby care, fragrances, gardening, hair care, sunscreens and household cleaning, among others.
The only hitch is that many of the brands that come up as safe are not widely available (this in itself is telling of the industry!).

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