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Going green? There's an app for that

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 1, 2013 - AT&T and St. Louis Green have announced a merger of technology and sustainability -- all in a handheld device.

A new mobile app, which can be found through St. Louis Green's website or any mobile applications store, was released Monday. It is designed to provide St. Louisians with information about where to find green dining, companies, events and jobs.

Craig Jung, the founder and executive director of St. Louis Green, pointed to one part that he thinks will be popular.

"One I think we’ll have a lot of traffic on is locating the recycling centers and where to recycle. It’s by item, so you can go in there and you can map it and it tells you right where to go," he said.

The app is in keeping with the mission of St. Louis Green, which "empowers others to learn about and implement sustainable lifestyles," according to their website.

John Sondag, the president of AT&T Missouri, said that the company is equally invested in sustainability.

"The sustainability effort, people go, 'Why is AT&T so focused on that?'" he said. "It comes down to the importance of what sustainability means to the markets we live in, the markets that we serve. We’re deeply committed to sustainability."

For this project, a few people within AT&T had the idea of going out into the community and doing something in the name of sustainability.

Jung was contacted and agreed to pursue the project. After he had picked what he wanted from his website to be available through the app, a team of developers worked on it for about a year and a half.

Sondag seemed pleased with the results and the potential impact that the app will have on the city.

"I think it’ll be significant because I think a lot of people want to be very eco-conscious, but a lot of times, they don’t know how," he said. "I think everything they need to know about how to be eco-friendly, they can find from this app."

Technology necessarily plays an instrumental role in getting this information to consumers.

"We know how important that is to provide helpful information whenever and wherever you need it," Sondag said.

As part of its St. Louis Green app, AT&T is asking residents to donate used cell phones during July, with a goal of recycling at least 1,000 phones. Donors can  drop off their phones in stores or donate them to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a charity that provides calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.

Sondag hopes to see a greener St. Louis as a reult of this app.

"I’m hoping that the overall efforts and commitments that St. Louisians have to sustainability and being green, that we’ll see a market increase in that," he said.

Chelsea Embree is a Beacon intern.

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