7 effortless smartphone apps for saving the planet (and your money)

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Sustainability Week 2024: Harnessing the Power of Apps for a Greener Lifestyle


The global movement towards sustainability has gained significant momentum in recent years, with individuals, businesses, and governments making efforts to reduce their environmental impact. As technology enthusiasts, we have a unique opportunity to leverage our smartphones and the apps they offer to contribute to this important cause. In this article, we will explore some of the latest apps for iOS and Android that prioritize sustainability and ethical consumerism. By incorporating these apps into our daily routines, we can reduce our carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the planet.

The Food Waste Reducer: Too Good To Go

When it comes to reducing food waste, the app that stands out is Too Good To Go. Launched in 2016, this app connects users with local cafes and restaurants that have unsold food. By purchasing a “goody bag” through the app, users can enjoy a meal at a discounted price while simultaneously preventing perfectly good food from going to waste. Too Good To Go recently reached a significant milestone of saving 200 million meals globally. The app’s success highlights the potential impact of simple actions by individuals. By incorporating apps like Too Good To Go into our lives, we can make a tangible difference in reducing food waste and its associated environmental consequences.

The Place for Second-Hand Clothes: Vinted

One of the major contributors to environmental degradation is the fashion industry. The production and disposal of clothing generate significant waste and carbon emissions. To combat this issue, apps like Vinted and Depop have emerged as platforms for buying and selling second-hand clothes. While these apps still rely on home delivery, they offer a more sustainable alternative to buying new clothes. The ease of browsing through listings and the absence of selling fees make these apps a convenient and cost-effective solution for sustainable fashion. Furthermore, a study by Vinted suggests that 39% of its transactions prevent the purchase of a new piece of clothing, reducing the demand for new production. By shifting towards second-hand clothing platforms, tech enthusiasts can make a significant impact in reducing their carbon footprint in the fashion industry.

The One for Capturing Carbon: Treeapp

One of the most promising strategies for combatting climate change is reforestation. Treeapp, a UK-based app, allows users to contribute to reforestation efforts by planting trees using just their smartphones. Users can choose a tree-planting project within the app, watch short adverts from Treeapp’s partners, and, in turn, these partners donate money for planting trees. Since its launch four years ago, Treeapp has planted 4.2 million trees across 17 countries, resulting in the absorption of almost 600,000 tonnes of CO2. This innovative approach demonstrates how technology can be harnessed to make a meaningful difference in addressing climate change. For individuals residing outside the UK, Ecosia offers a similar concept by donating 80% of its advertising profits to tree-planting organizations worldwide. By using apps like Treeapp and Ecosia, tech enthusiasts can actively contribute to reforestation efforts and take a step towards a greener future.

The Climate Educator: NASA Earth Now

To build eco-conscious habits, it is essential to have a deeper understanding of the environmental challenges we face. NASA Earth Now is a powerful app that provides users with real-time global climate data. By overlaying the data onto a 3D model of the Earth, users can visualize the impact of various factors such as carbon dioxide levels and forest fires. The app’s Vital Signs menu offers valuable insights into climate change and its implications. Despite its slightly dated interface, the app remains a valuable tool for educating individuals of all ages on the urgency of addressing climate change. By incorporating NASA Earth Now into our daily lives, we can stay informed and make informed choices that contribute to a sustainable future.

The One for Charging Tech: WhenToPlugIn

Our dependence on technology often leads to increased energy consumption. WhenToPlugIn, an app developed by the National Grid in the UK, aims to mitigate this issue by providing users with real-time information on the carbon intensity of the electricity grid. By analyzing data on renewable energy generation, the app recommends the “greenest” time to use electricity. This information can guide users in optimizing their power usage, especially for non-urgent activities such as charging electric vehicles and running appliances like dishwashers. While the app’s interface may lack aesthetic appeal, its potential to reduce carbon emissions and save money through smart energy management makes it a valuable tool for tech enthusiasts committed to sustainability.

The Restaurant Finder: HappyCow

For vegetarians and vegans, finding plant-based dining options while traveling can be challenging. HappyCow is an app that solves this problem by providing regularly updated maps and a strong community network that recommends the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants worldwide. By utilizing HappyCow, individuals can reduce their environmental impact by opting for plant-based meals that require less water and produce fewer CO2 emissions compared to meat-based dishes. With listings in 185 countries, HappyCow stands as a valuable resource for tech enthusiasts looking to make sustainable choices during their travels.

The One for Carpooling: BlaBlaCar

Carpooling presents a significant opportunity for reducing emissions and congestion on the roads. BlaBlaCar is a leading app that connects travelers looking for shared rides. By matching individuals with similar itineraries, the app enables cost-sharing and reduces the overall carbon footprint of transportation. While carpooling experienced a decline during the pandemic, it is now making a comeback as travel restrictions ease. BlaBlaCar’s impact report for 2022 revealed that it had 26 million active members and saved 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Although its popularity may vary across countries and regions, carpooling apps like BlaBlaCar provide a sustainable solution for tech enthusiasts looking to reduce their environmental impact while traveling.


As technology enthusiasts, we have a unique opportunity to harness the power of apps to promote sustainability and make a positive impact on the planet. The apps discussed in this article offer a wide range of options for reducing food waste, buying second-hand clothes, planting trees, understanding climate change, optimizing energy usage, finding sustainable dining options, and carpooling. By incorporating these apps into our daily lives, we can effortlessly integrate sustainable practices and contribute to a greener future. As we celebrate Sustainability Week 2024, let us embrace these apps and inspire others to join us in our journey towards a more sustainable world.

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