With so much access to information nowadays, it’s quite simple to find whatever interests you. However, people still neglect to research from who they buy products, and what those people or corporations stand for.
You might be interested in knowing their political leanings, as well as their business practices, so you can be a responsible citizen and speak with your purchasing power by only purchasing products made by people you support. Here are five ethical apps that you can use to become that responsible citizen.
As everyone should have access to such ethical shopping apps, I’ve only included ones that are free.
Buycott is one of the best apps for looking up the corporations behind products. It makes searching for products easily by including the ability to scan barcodes on any product. Once it finds the product, it gives you the corporation that made the product, contact information and address, and a family tree to see how the brand in question is associated with other brands.
Unfortunately, the app doesn’t directly tell you whether the company is “good” or “bad”, but rather lets you find relevant campaigns. Campaigns are used to determine whether a company is good or bad – as campaigns are usually negative, the corporation should be in good shape if there are no campaigns against it. The campaigns can alert you of certain practices that you may not agree with, which will let you make an informed decision of whether you’re fine with buying the product.
On a similar note, you can use Boycott SOPA to look up products to see whether the corporation behind the product is for or against SOPA. Despite the fact that SOPA doesn’t create as much buzz anymore compared to CISPA, you probably still don’t want to support a corporation that does or used to support SOPA.
Sadly, the app doesn’t look quite as nice, but it still gets the job done and lets you know more about the corporations from which you purchase products. You can get the app for free for Android.
Another good resource is the Good Guide. It lets you search by product, and then gives “scientific” scores of how good the corporation is based off of health, environment, and society. If the corporation does as much as it can to protect all of these, it scores highly. You can also search for products via their barcode, which makes looking up products very simple.
Seafood Watch is a great app for seafood lovers who would like to know where their cuisine comes from and how it was raised. It offers three different lists – seafood guides, a sushi guide, and Project FishMap.
In seafood guides, you can choose your location and then find a list of best choice, best alternative, and “avoid” seafood. The rankings are based off of how much a certain food is harming other marine life or the environment. The same applies to the sushi guide.
With Project FishMap, you can help contribute by making a report for a “best choice” or “good alternative” seafood that you come across, as well as its location. This helps keep the guides up to date and reliable.
Finally, as a responsible citizen you’ll want to be able to recycle as much as you can. This includes items that your city’s recycling trucks may not collect during their weekly pickup. You can use iRecycle to find locations to recycle virtually everything imaginable within the US.
You simply choose what item you wish to recycle after browsing through a handful of categories, and the app will determine your location and find the closest recycling location that accepts the item you looked up. The app returns the name, location, phone number, and website of the recycling location, and also lets you do a “reverse” search, where you can see all the items that the specific location will recycle in addition to the first item that you looked up.
With these ethical shopping apps in hand, you can become a far more responsible citizen by speaking with your money and otherwise shaping the area you live in via a number of physical and political ways. As all of these apps are free, there’s no reason for people to believe that they have a lot less power than they actually do.
Check out other great tips at being an ethical shopper!
How do you use your smartphone in ethical ways? Is it worth it to use ethical apps? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: kevin dooley