5 Apps That Could Change the World

It's interesting that a scroll through the top 25 apps on both iTunes and the Android market include nothing but games. Of course, tweeting location or updating our Facebook status is maybe why we bought the phone in the first place; but surely, smart phones are capable of more than Angry Birds and Bejeweled Blitz.

There are some amazing apps that aim to do more than just entertain. Grab these and access world-wide information on how to shop local, where to recycle, who offers the menu options you need and what global details matter today. A tour of each founding website shows that these apps were provided to put game-changing information at the fingertips of those who want to participate in solutions. In a world where information overload can quickly overwhelm, knowing where to look for the answers is key to success.

LookLocal supports the 3/50 Project, clearly defining independent businesses while offering a specific challenge: Pick 3 local businesses that you would miss if they were gone and spend $50 at each. For every one hundred dollars you spend locally, $68 stays in your economy. National chains generate just $43 dollars, and online shopping generates nothing for your local economy. Amazon and eBay may be convenient and efficient, but they don't support your schools, local graduates or community events. Download this free app and include local businesses on your shopping list.

iRecycle is a free directory created by Earth911.com and is the most accurate and comprehensive guide of it's kind, offering recycling options for over 300 materials with a zip-code data base. Earth911 is an environmental services company that addresses solutions for products' end-of-life for both businesses and consumers. The app accesses over 1 million options that they have collected in a fact-based and actionable way, and offers articles and information on everything from making your own compost pile to creating a workplace recycling program. Simply enter your zip code and the materials you are looking to process, and they will direct you to the options.

And with apps like the Happy Cow and Gluten Free Registry, it has never been easier for those observing a restricted diet to find restaurants, stores and businesses that cater to individual needs. These two are top picks, and are well worth the $2.99 and $1.99 respectively, offering interactive maps and customer reviewers. The Happy Cow offers vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian friendly listings in 101 countries. The Gluten Free Registry contains over 24,100 participating retailers and are also world-wide. They're both a convenient resource for the place you live; they are invaluable when you are on the road.

Finally, expand your world with practical, intelligent and science-based information on How Stuff Works. Their free support app offers articles, blogs, podcasts and videos filled with useful education. They guide you on how to change your oil, which gadgets and tablets are worth the money, debit vs/ credit, and using social media to grow your business. How Stuff Works will inspire you with thought-provoking quotes and expand your understanding and knowledge of all things relevant. They might even improve your conversation skills in time for the next party.

When you know better, you do better. Are you ready to learn?

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Produced by Tony Frantz Edited by Amy McKee V/O by Colleen Freeland Towner