How to Make Your Everyday Activities More Impactful

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Whether at work or in free time, making a positive impact in the world is a top priority for many. A 2014 study found that 94% of millennial workers wanted to use their skills to benefit a cause, with 70% spending at least an hour volunteering for a cause they cared about. But it's becoming easier to make giving part of one's daily routine. Thanks to host of new apps and interesting technology, you can transform regular activities into something that benefits social good.


Shopping: Buy with Purpose

Most consumers are naturally drawn to credit cards with perks, but studies estimate that nearly $16 billion reward dollars go unused every year. Instead of forgetting to cash in on those airline miles, Charity Charge is a credit card that gives cardholders one percent cash back on every purchase, which can be given to up to three non-profits of their choosing. Through the website, users can easily change the organizations they're giving to and track how much they've contributed.

For online shoppers, Amazon has an easy way to contribute. Consumers who use the URL will see 0.5 percent of the purchase price of a product donated to the charitable organization of their choice.

And while how you shop can make a difference, so do the goods you choose to buy. The Good Guide app makes it easy to know the impact of the products that you spend money on—like cleaning supplies, toilet paper and toothpaste. By scanning the product, users can see how they rank in the marketplace regarding health, environment, society, and more. More than 250,000 products have been rated and put on a 0 to 10 scale to reflect impact.

Exercise: Make Your Steps Count

For many, exercise -whether it's walking to work or a long bike ride- is a regular part of the day. With the app Charity Miles you can make every step count, literally. The app, supported by corporate sponsors, lets you choose a charity and then as you log miles, it donates up to 25 cents per mile to your choice of more than 30 charities. With more than 300,000 active users, the company's founder Gene Gurkoff said he hopes to give 1 billion to charity by the end of 2016.

Related: Using Sports As A Force For Good

Eating: Go Green

It turns out that mom's advice of eating your vegetables is not only good for you, but good for the environment too. Livestock generates more greenhouse gases than all the engines running around the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, meat consumption per capita doubled in the two decades leading up to 2002. They expect it to double again by 2050. Fortunately there are apps that make it easy to make your diet a little greener. Locavore helps you find the best local produce in your area, and Harvest is a guide to helping you select the ripest produce while you shop. It will tell you what's in season, alert you to pesticide levels and give you tips on how to store the fruits and vegetables.

In addition to watching what you eat, you can also do something about the food that you end up wasting. According to a report by the United Nations and the World Resources Institute, about a third of all food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. It's easy to do your part in helping solve this worldwide issue, thanks to a UK-based food-sharing app OLIO. Olio connects you with neighbors and local businesses to share and trade unwanted grocery goods. Users can post photo and description of the item they're giving away and others can request it and arrange for pick-up. So far more than 100,000 items of food have been shared.

Posting on Social Media: Gramming for Good

What do you do with all those outtakes from your Instagram post? If it's last night's dinner you're sharing, Feedie partners with certain restaurants so that when diners share photos of their meal, the restaurant donates the equivalent of one meal to The Lunchbox Fund, which provides daily meals for orphaned and at-risk school children in South Africa. And as for the rest of those pics filling your image library, Johnson and Johnson is collecting donated photos and in exchange giving to charity. In a single week alone, more than 1.2 millions photos are donated in the U.S. Each of your photos is worth a dollar for charity, so snap away.

Doing Laundry: Wash With Care

With Whirlpool's Connect to Care program, piles of dirty clothes can remind you to donate to a cause. If you have one of their Smart Top Load Washer/Dryers, you can connect to the Whirlpool app and start giving. With each load you're prompted by the app to make an automatic donation of 15, 25 or 50 cents to be given to Habitat for Humanity, showing that small contributions can add up to make a big difference.

Sleep: Guilt-Free Snoozing

We all crave those extra ten minutes of shuteye in the morning. iCukoo is an alarm clock app that monetizes your snoozing. The app tracks how many times someone hits snooze, and when it hits a certain number of times, the user gets a text asking to donate to a cause. "I'm the kind of person who doesn't wake up easily," Josh Hart, one of the app's developers, told Fast Co.Exist. "I feel so guilty, because I'm so hungry as a human being—we all are—to do something with our time, and there's only so much of it. I don't know any snoozer who feels totally guilt-free for snoozing on a weekday."

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