12 Best Alexa Skills to help you recycle, re-use and live a bit greener

12 Best Alexa Skills to help you recycle, re-use and live a bit greener

Amazon's voice assistant has an environmentally friendly side too. Just enable any of these Alexa Skills to help save the environment.

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Are you trying to reduce your carbon footprint? Reduce, reuse, and recycle? Turn that leftover food into rich compost to grow more food in your yard. Alexa has skills for these and many more ecological tips and tricks. Plus, there are some fun ones to teach kids, your own or maybe those in your class, how and what to recycle.

Alexa is a delightful artificial intelligence bot with the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot Plus, and other Amazon devices. Alexa can help you play music, give you a news update, and has Skills that bring up games, and quizzes, and even help you schedule your day. The voice assistant has mini-programs that people can write for her, called Alexa Skills, which can run simple and specific tasks. Here are 15 ecological skills currently available on Alexa.

a photo of a smart led bulb in the shape of a flower.how to save money using Alexa and smart LED bulbsiStock

Making your home greener with Alexa

There are many ways to save energy, use less water, and generally be easier on the planet — and your wallet — simultaneously. If you want to see how eco-friendly you can make your home, Green My Space is a valuable skill. You choose a room to start with, and the skill will give you tips for making that room greener, with one suggestion at a time, such as lowering how many resources you tap into for that space.

Try Alexa skills to help you save the planetiStock

Alexa's tips on saving the Earth

For random ecology tips, there are a few skills that can help. Go, Green offers random or targeted tips from these categories: water pollution, recycling, deforestation, or saving energy. For tips on a whole host of sustainable practices, Earth Saver may be the skill for you. Earth Saver is from Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and it does come off as a student project. However, it has a range of suggestions, from eating seasonal produce to buying green laundry detergent. The downside, as you will find with the less sophisticated skills, is that you have to say the whole phrase "Alexa, ask Earth Saver how to save the Earth?" to get anything out of this skill.

Alexa can help you recycle. iStock

Alexa, can I recycle this?

If there is one small thing you can do immediately to help keep the planet clean, it is recycling rather than throwing things away. Recycle Track can tell you recycling facts and track your reuse efforts. You need to know the weight in grams of each item you recycle before using this Alexa Skill. From there, though, this skill will tell you how much energy you saved and what that energy could do — run a lightbulb for 30 minutes or a table fan for three hours. It will also track your total amount of recycling over time.

Unsure what you can recycle? Ask The Recycle Game helps you track your recycling and gives you details about your energy savings. All energy conversions use the EPA's rates and formulas. This could be a little motivator for the kids or the adults to put that bottle in the bin, not the can.

There are many other recycling assistants, but not all pan out well. Captain Planet – Your Recycling Assistant is designed to engage, educate, and have an impact, but it seems difficult to use. Trying to ask questions or what to recycle proved that it doesn't know "cup," "computer," or other common questions people might have about recycling. For industry-standard disposal stream information on thousands of household objects, try Waste Wizard. However, the skill warns that the information it gives may not align with your local authority's guidelines for disposal. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is another tip skill, and for residents of San Francisco, Waste Guru can help you decide what to recycle, compost, or throw away in that municipality. There are also dedicated skills for Cambridge, Mass., and a few other locales, giving pickup dates and specifications for recycling in their area.

a photo of compostAlexa skills can help you create compost.iStock

Fertilize your garden

Recycling is all about saving energy, and the energy from food and other organic matter can be recycled to create more nutritional organic matter through composting. But some may find this energy conversion mystifying. If you need to know what household waste can go in the compost — and what cannot — you can try Compost Helper tells you what food and household items can be added to your compost bin. You ask if an item can be composted.

a child recycling plastic bottlesa photo of a child recycling plastic bottlesiStock

Raising green kids

For younger kids, perhaps the 4 to 7-year-old set, you can try Earth Kids, an Alexa skill designed to dispense the knowledge of our beautiful planet Earth to kids who would be the future guardians of Earth. This skill can teach kids ways to preserve the Earth, undo the damage already done, and restore the Earth to its former state of glory. It is a valuable skill that makes kids take responsible actions at a young age to reap benefits in the future. It educates and encourages them through activities like planting trees, watering dry plants, caring for animals, adopting pets, reducing, reusing, minimizing waste, maintaining cleanliness, etc. Overall, it helps kids become "Earth Kids" full of passion and zeal to protect and replenish the Earth.

Our final green kid's skill is Captain Earth, which is supposed to be the planet's voice. In this game, you are the commander, Captain Earth, rescuing the planet, and Alexa lets you know the good you accomplished.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility find engine, to see the other compatible products that work with Amazon Alexa devices.

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