My Smartphone helps me recycle

My Smartphone helps me recycle

If you find yourself looking at your trash cans, confused and somewhat frustrated, not sure where to put your trash and packaging, these apps are for you.

It is spring cleaning time again and you are wondering what on earth you’re going to do with this mound of things you don’t use any more. For years you’ve been keeping stuff! Clothes you no longer wear, magazines you've already read, electrical equipment you replaced long ago, and mixed in here and there, half empty medicine boxes, dead batteries, light bulbs...

Here is a selection of some free, ultra-simple apps to help you to sort your trash and get you into the recycling habit.

Recyclebank (United States)

The Recyclebank platform and its mobile app are based on the same principle as Greenredeem, but is located in the United States. Founded in 2004, Recyclebank now has millions of users and offers a wider range of environmentally friendly actions - not only recycling, but also energy and clean transport. For example you can get a free bag for storing plastic bags for recycling (and yes, plastic bags can be recycled!), go to work on foot, reduce water consumption, etc. This year, Recyclebank launched One Twine, its online shopping site with more than 400 products and 30 different brands, all as beautiful as they are environmentally friendly. And guess what? You can cash in the points you earn on some great deals!

Google Play, Apple Store, Official website

iRecycle (United States)

How do you recycle items you don’t use anymore? No matter what you have in your hands - ripped jeans, a chipped vase, obsolete DVD player or a huge pile of bank slips - iRecycle has the solution. Or rather it has 1,600,000 solutions for recycling more than 350 products. This app was developed by the American Association Earth911 and will tell you not only how to recycle everyhting, but where the nearest recycling centers are and when they are open. Each type of waste is categorized on a good, quick and easy to use interface. If recycling is one of the easiest ways for people to adopt sustainable behaviors, the iRecycle app is probably the most efficient way of doing it. And what’s more you get to read all about recycling, including information, news and best practices.

Google Play, Apple Store, Earth911

Along the same lines and still in the United States, the 1-800 Recycling app, available for iPhone and Android phones.

Guide du Tri (France)

Recycle, yes, but you still need to know how to sort your waste. Does a pizza box count as cardboard? Can you put it in the cardboard trash can? The Eco-Emballage sorting guide, tells you how to sort, and product by product, tells you whether to discard, recycle, donate or sell it. The app has an easy sorting tool – just select one of the twelve categories of waste (plastic, paper, cardboard, metal, glass, organic waste, etc.) and then refine your choice. And to answer the question about pizza boxes, they are categorized as soiled cardboard and must therefore be thrown away with the household trash! It also includes a geolocation database so you can find the closest recycling center to home.

Google Play, Apple Store, Guide du Tri, Eco-Emballages

Fibre du Tri (France)

This app is dedicated to sorting and recycling clothing. Or more precisely textiles, linens, shoes and clothes. Once collected, everything is hand sorted and then sent either to resellers (charities and the thrift stores you might sometimes enjoy looking round) or to operators that will recycle or discard them. Eco TLC, the organization responsible for collecting and recycling these materials, launched the app along with a well-designed, very educational website in 2012. It explains the principles behind sorting these items, but also tells you what happens to them afterwards (who knows? Your favorite but holed pair of shoes could experience a fantastic new adventure). Most importantly, you can locate textile collection points near you on an interactive map (more than 25,000).

Google Play, Apple Store, Fibre du Tri, Eco TLC

In some cities, associations, companies and local authorities have developed their own local sorting and recycling apps – for example in Paris and in Manchester.

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