Six Eco-friendly Apps that should be on your Radar
The digitisation of our world has changed the way we’ve done many things – putting convenience at our fingertips and making our phones our biggest asset when it comes not only to communication but also monitoring and improving our sleep, diet and health. With this reliance on our devices exacerbated by the pandemic bumping up screen time to unprecedented levels, it’s no surprise that people are turning to their phones to find ways to improve individual carbon footprints – and environmentalists are responding to put the solutions right in our pockets.
While the task of moving towards a greener economy can sometimes seem an insurmountable one, small steps can lead to significant change, and these apps can provide a stepping stone to attaining personal eco-goals.
UK-based Olio is a food reduction initiative set up back in 2015, established with the aim of connecting people with each other and local businesses to share surplus food – allowing people to ‘borrow’ rather than buy food. To do so, users take a photo of the item(s) to share, while anyone else with the app will get an alert that it’s available. According to the group, the app has to date helped share over 17 million portions of food.
While the pandemic meant a safety guide had to be retroactively included on the site, it also bumped up Olio’s efforts to help vulnerable individuals during the pandemic, bringing groceries and non-food household items to those in need.
My Little Plastic Footprint
With the Center for International Environmental Law estimating that annual plastic emissions could exceed the equivalent of 2.75 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2050 – finding ways to help people cut down consumption is a vital step in the move to go green.
This app does what it says on the tin, allowing users to monitor their plastic footprints to try and help reduce the volume of plastic consumed on a daily basis. Plastic alternatives will also be suggested by the app to help you choose the most sustainable option.
California-based Oroeco takes tracking users’ footprints to the next level, monitoring individual’s climate impact and carbon footprint in everything from how they eat to how they travel. Users can sync spending apps with Oroeco to track the carbon emissions associated with every purchase they make – estimating their entire monthly carbon footprint.
Oroeco also offers carbon offsets which can be purchased directly through the app, helping users to lower their impact.
While reusable water bottles are seeing a boost in popularity as public opinion turns its back on plastic, eco-conscious consumers can still run into the difficulty of knowing where to refill.
The Tap app was designed to meet this problem, allowing users to locate water bottle refilling stations around town – with the network made up of cafes, restaurants, drinking fountains or filtered water ATMs. As well as giving the location, Tap will also provide details of the kinds of water offered at each site.
Ecosia search engine
Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees as you work. This Chrome extension uses the profits gathered from online ads to plant trees and while it was originally made for your computer, a mobile version has been created for downloading.
During the 2020 Australian wildfires, Ecosia directed all of the search profits to plant trees in affected areas, with the search engine reporting it was able to plant 26,000 trees in one day.
American app iRecycle connects people with recycling centres near them, helping users to recycle over 350 different materials including clothes, batteries, household appliances and electronic waste. The app has a network of almost 110,000 recycling centres and reportedly offers over 1.6m ways to recycle waste.
The app also provides daily articles, podcasts and recycling how-to guides for users looking for more information.