10 apps to make sustainable living easier

New year, new ways to be sustainable. In this article, we explore ten apps that will make sustainable living your easiest New Year’s resolution to date.  


1. Treeapp

Treeapp is my number one when it comes to everything sustainable. At this point, I’ve recommended it to more people than I can count. Every day, users can log in to the app and plant a tree for free. First, users choose a project area to support, after which they are presented with three messages or questions from sponsors of the app and that’s it! The company plant the tree in the area you choose and then you get to do it again the next day. It’s completely free and as a huge bonus, all the sponsors are sustainable companies that then allow you to buy their products with a discount code as a result of using the app. I’ve been using this one since the beginning of last year and I’m still obsessed.


2. Olio

Olio is perfect for the cheap university student who also wants to prevent food waste. The app allows you to either donate or receive excess food from the local community. Users take a photo of the food/items they have on offer and then a pickup place and time for the item. Everything in Olio’s share option is free and you can find some real gems on the site. Even though it is primarily a food waste app, I’ve even seen a whole set of dresser draws going on the site so don’t be afraid to look.


3. Too Good To Go: end food waste

Like Olio, Too Good To Go is another food waste saver. It operates very similarly to Olio in that it presents nearby food that needs to be saved but works with retailers rather than other users. This concept is a safer option as users cut out the middle man and there is no need to worry about pesky time-wasters. The downside, however, is that the bags are ‘surprise’ bags, meaning you never really know what you are receiving, though you often get a general gist from the provider. They have a wide range of suppliers, including companies such as Costa Coffee, Greggs, Morrisons, and Caffe Nero. The bags often cost around £2, another reason why it ranks below Olio, but given the amount of product you get, it still comes out as a huge bargain.


4. ShareTheMeal

ShareTheMeal is a UN initiative that donates meals to people in need for as little as £0.65. It’s an amazing idea and even works great for presents. The ‘gift a meal’ function allows you to donate on behalf of someone else for an easy and helpful present. You can also choose to sponsor a particular individual or family and receive updates on how your funds have impacted their life.


5. Ecosia

Unlike everything else on the list, Ecosia is the only non-application. Instead, Ecosia is a browser extension that works in place of other browsers, to plant trees with every search. It has a handy function at the top of the screen to keep track of how many trees your searches have planted. Honestly one of the easiest functions and it doesn’t even feel like work. Just sit back, search online as you normally do, and feel better about yourself.


6. Ethy: shop sustainably

Want to find sustainable products and businesses online or in your local area? Ethy is perfect. They have plenty of options available to users to discover alternatives to your everyday products. Similar to impact score shopping (an option further down on the list), the app allows users to receive information about the companies they buy from with a full accreditation system in place to make sure your money is going to the right place.


7. Flora

Flora is great not just for focusing but also for planting trees. Flora is a free alternative to the app Forest where users can grow digital and real trees through opting into the planting service. It works through users setting a timer on the app (the time is up to you) and for that designated time, users cannot leave the app without a charge being incurred. The charge is usually £5, which goes towards the planting costs. The app has an emergency option so if it is really necessary, you can still leave the app without incurring a charge.


 8. Impact Score Shopping

Sometimes living suitably is hard, especially amongst the increasing greenwashing of present society. With the impact score app, you can easily scan a product to discover how sustainable it is, and even suggest more sustainable alternatives. The app takes into account a range of factors including carbon emissions, payment practices, and gender pay gaps.


9. My Footprint: climate and nature

This WWF is amazing for figuring out your carbon footprint. The first step to being more sustainable is figuring out where you can make changes. Answer a brief questionnaire and the app will give you an overview of your footprint and suggestions on how to lower it. The app also hosts a series of challenges for its users. These can be as easy as turning your heating down a degree or two, or as hard as planting your own herb garden ( I say this as a self-proclaimed black thumb).


10. Giving nature a home

This app comes from the RSPB, and similar to the My Footprint application gives you tasks to complete. These tasks are focused on creating a suitable environment for garden habitats. As many university students may not have a garden, the app falls low on the list. This doesn’t mean people should completely disregard it, however, as the app gives you the ability to set your garden size to change the tasks presented to you. Besides, it’s never too early to plan your future garden.


Note: None of the products presented in the list are sponsored and all rankings are presented from the author’s opinion.

Featured image: Glenn Carstens-Peters, with license

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