The urgent need to curb our global waste problems is necessarily creeping up the international agenda, and will no doubt be the subject of further discussion in Davos this week. We are increasingly aware of a crisis approaching.
However with full-time jobs, family life and keeping active, finding the time to get more involved in the battle against climate change can feel impossible. With most of us struggling to factor in time to sleep, how can we make a bigger impact, beyond being a conscientious recycler and plastic bag re-user?
The answer is of course yes. Technological innovations within business and the widespread availability of mobile phones make 2018 a great to to go greener. And for the most part it can start by just downloading an app.
Here are 5 apps that are saving the planet:
- Carma Carpooling
When was the last time you heard of someone doing a carpool other than James Corden? Attractive in principal, the problem with organising lift shares is, well, organising them.
Designed in a similar vein to Uber, Carma Carpool uses your GPS location services to put you in contact with fellow commuters in your local area. It’s easy to arrange lifts and you’re fuel share is deducted straight from your card so there is no faffing around with spare change at the end of a journey. Not only is it easy, it’s also cheap. Working out around $0.20 you can save your pennies for a more enjoyable purpose than simply getting to work. More than that, it’s a bit of fun, you get to meet new people and it is a little less stressful than getting the bus. Carma Carpooling is still limited to US cities but is committed to growth and promises to work towards moving into any city requested.
Accounting for 50 million tons of waste per year, one of the biggest challenges facing environmentalists is e-waste. By this we don’t mean your trashed emails, but the litany of phones, computers and cameras being discarded every year that are highly toxic and what’s more, completely re-usable.
One solution to this problem is, rather than constantly buying the gadgets you need, why not borrow them? The East-London born company Fat Lama has pioneered a marketplace for renting out personal belongings for a daily fee.
Sharing platforms have long been seen as a vital cog in a functioning circular economy. By renting out an item to borrowers locally, we avoid unnecessary purchasing (and thereby production). But such platforms could also have an impact on the manufacturing and design approach of tech firms, too. If products are viewed as assets, we’ll naturally want more durable and repairable products - such a consumer demand could be a huge catalyst in doing away with our ‘take-make-dispose’ mentality.
Whilst many eco products and services often come with a price tag, sharing platforms like Fat Lama save and make users money too. Household items such as Henry Hoover can fetch anywhere between $6.78 and $16.27 per day, with more high-end camera equipment such as a DJI Ronin M Gimbal raising a healthy $63.
- GoGreen: Carbon Tracker
This is for those of you who have always felt guilty about your carbon footprint but have never really known how to go about it. The big issues like air travel and 12-hour drives are easy to keep track of but it’s harder to know your environmental impact within an average day.
GoGreen is the answer to this issue. This handy little app was developed by eco-warrior Anmol Parande as a way of explaining the everyday impact we have on climate change. The app works by analysing everything from your heating to your journey to work and provide a ‘carbon score’ that is ranked amongst other users. The idea is that being placed on a spectrum will help users to engage with otherwise baffling numbers and perhaps even inspire a bit of friendly competition. GoGreen also offers bespoke advice to help you reduce your carbon score and praise when you do.
- Ethical Barcode
When doing the weekly shop, it is easy to get sucked into clever and often deceptive marketing around sustainability. With labels ‘ethically sourced’ or ‘fair trade’, it is hard to make an accurate assessment. Ethical Barcode solves this problem by offering a detailed breakdown of the moral, ethical and social consequences of buying a product.
There are no half measures in their information either. Ethical Barcode provides a number of different categories ranging from animal rights to employee welfare and provides a rating out of 100 for each grouping. The data used comes from 20 well known Non-Profits such as Oxfam, as well as hundreds of other external sources to ensure that the information you're getting is not just detailed but accurate.
The hope is that by using the app, Ethical Barcode can turn us all into responsible consumers, at no cost and minimal effort. The impact of which could force the food and drink industry at least to be more transparent and at most to have stricter standards of sustainability.
Did you know that toilet flushing accounts for 30% of all the water used in the UK? Or that brushing your teeth with the tap on can waste up to 6 litres of water? Water wastage is a huge environmental issue facing the planet that gets relatively little airtime, particularly in the UK. With so much water pouring down from up above, it’s hard to care sometimes how much you’re wasting out of the taps!
However, this lack of knowledge around water wastage can be easily remedied with Dropcountr. Designed to monitor household water consumption, this clever little app accesses your mains water supply and will provide a breakdown of every water source in your home. It comes in monthly digests, or if you have a smart meter, will work it our daily. On average users can reduce their water usage by 9%, saving the planet and a few pennies.