By Kristina Ang
Recent studies found that almost 40% of all consumers and 60% of 18-to 34-year-olds admit to using their phones too much and I’m reluctant to say that I am a part of that statistic. If you’re anything like me, then you’re probably on your mobile device for a multitude of reasons. This probably includes answering your emails, listening to music, checking your social media, and even connecting with your friends and family through text messages. Our smartphones are no doubt our ally when it comes to our personal and professional lives, but wouldn’t it be great if it was catered to our sustainable lifestyles as well? Over the past decade, the emergence of the category of “sustainability apps” has broken through the tech space with companies and app developers looking for ways to support members of the sustainability community. But with everything that’s offered out there, I’m sure many of you are looking to skip the app-testing phase and just get straight to leading your sustainable lifestyles. Luckily for you, I’ve taken the time to test dozens of sustainability apps only to come up with the following list of my all-time favorites below:
The Grove Collaborative app is your one-stop-shop for non-toxic and eco-friendly healthy home essentials. Everything from cleaning supplies and hand soap to vitamins and body wash, the Grove Collaborative has it all. The truly unique part of this app is that you have the option to set up customizable refill shipments of the products you use every day in and around the house. It’s completely in your control and you have the choice of delaying, editing or canceling your refill shipments at any point in time. On top of all of those great shopping options, this app also offers a library of videos you can browse for tips and tricks on how to make your home sparkle. And finally, just when you thought this app couldn’t get any better, your first order on the app comes with a free gift including a range of full-size items of the home essentials that they offer. You can find more information on the Grove Collaborative app, here.
You’re probably familiar with popular second-hand shopping apps such as Depop and Poshmark, but an app that you’re probably less familiar with, but that’s just as great is the Curtsy app. Thrift shop from the comfort of your home and from your favorite brands like Free People, Nike, Urban Outfitters, Princess Polly, and more. Not only can you make purchases, but you can just as easily sell your cute clothes whether you want to clean out your closet or fund your next favorite outfit, Curtsy makes it easy to do so. My favorite part of using the app is just how intuitive and easy it is to make purchases that won’t make you feel regretful about contributing to the production of new clothes being made. You can find more information on the Curtsy app, here.
Another favorite second-hand shopping app for all of you shopaholics out there is ThredUP. ThredUp offers a wide selection of women’s and kid’s clothing options from over 35,000 brands from the likes of Gap to Gucci. What I find truly unique about the ThredUp app is its extensive offering of designer brands ranging from prices as low as $25 to as high as $500 and above. If you find it easier to shop online rather than on your phone, no problem. ThredUP has a wonderfully built site that allows you all of the same capabilities you can find on the mobile app. But if you’re out and about and looking to browse on the go, you can just as easily switch to shopping on your phone. It’s that easy! You can find more information on the ThredUP app, here.
If you’re looking to buy and sell more than just fashion, OfferUp is the app for you. As one of the biggest mobile marketplaces for local buyers and sellers, this app allows you the ability to browse local items with thousands of new postings daily. The best part is you can find people within 5-30 miles of you that are selling just about anything that you’re looking for. If you’re a fan of using Facebook Marketplace, then you’ll love the OfferUp app. You can find more information on the OfferUP app, here.
Now let’s get into my favorite category of apps: lifestyle. The GoodHuman app encompasses everything you could ever want out of a sustainability-driven app. With GoodHuman, you’ll find a curated collection of all things ethical and sustainable, articles and videos dedicated to topics surrounding sustainability, and a community of people turning intention into action. A mix between Instagram and Pinterest, GoodHuman offers you the ability to network and communicate with others in the sustainable community as well as providing you with a space to save and share images, products, articles, and so much more. My favorite aspect of the GoodHuman app is being able to stay up to date with the latest news in sustainability. It’s just an all-around great app for people looking to make changes in the way they consume and go about their lifestyles. You can find more information on the GoodHuman app, here.
As someone who's been getting into using more clean and ethical beauty products, I’ve been using the Think Dirty app nonstop! It’s an app that’s built to vet your everyday beauty products and is the easiest way to learn more about potentially toxic ingredients in the cosmetics and personal care products you’re already using. Even if you’re on the go, Think Dirty has a very intuitive barcode scanning feature that will give you easy-to-understand information on the product, track dirty ingredients, and give you cleaner options to shop from. Not to mention, you can find some exclusive offers for various clean beauty brands on the app itself. You can find more information on the Think Dirty app, here.
Earth Hero: Climate Change
If you’re interested in taking direct actions against climate change, but struggling to determine what actions to take, this app is perfect for you! The app starts you off with a quick five-question quiz that allows them to gauge and put together your own personal emissions profile. From there, you can explore direct actions you can take in your own lives to reduce your carbon footprint while also discovering more satisfying ways to live. From actions like changing your light bulbs to LED lights to washing your clothes on a cold cycle, the Earth Hero app provides you with new and inventive ways you can take small steps that’ll make a big impact. You can find more information on the Earth Hero app, here.
Flora is the original productivity app for multi-user tree planting while giving you the added benefits of being able to clear your to-do lists and build positive, life-changing habits. Anytime you have a goal you want to make progress with, just plant a seed in the Flora app. As you work towards that goal, the seed will grow into a tree. That tree will act as your coach and you’ll be able to grow yourself with it. But that’s not all. The coolest aspect of this app is their added partnership with tree-planting organizations in Africa and East Asia, such as Tree.org, which gives you the option to plant real trees on the earth if you successfully grow a tree in the app. So, why not get productive and work on achieving your goals while also helping make the earth greener? You can find more information on the Flora app, here.
The best way to describe the ecosia app is like google, but more environmentally friendly. Unlike large search engine corporations like yahoo or google, ecosia uses the money made from search ads to plant trees, where nature and people need them most. The Ecosia community plants millions of trees every month across the world’s most threatened biodiversity hotspots, simply by searching the web. And if you want to take it one step further, replace your traditional search engine website with the ecosia website to take it beyond just your mobile devices. You can find more information on the Ecosia app, here.
FOOD & DRINK:
Too Good To Go: End Food Waste
The Too Good To Go app allows you to save the surplus food that is being wasted from your favorite restaurants, cafes, and stores nearby. Stores and restaurants partnered with the app offer whatever they have at the end of the day as surprise bags starting at $3.99 a bag (if that’s not a steal, I don’t know what is). All you have to do is find a surprise bag near you, reserve it through the app, and show up at the selected store to pick it up. It’s that simple and ideally the best way to receive food during the pandemic. Find more information on the Too Good To Go app, here.
Food for All
The Food for All app, like the last one, is another great app that connects you to surplus meals leftover by restaurants and stores near you. The main difference that I found between this app and the Too Good To Go app is that Food for All gives you options for meals you can choose from (of course options vary based on availability being that the app deals with surplus food). So if you consider yourself a picky eater, I would highly recommend using the Food For All app over the Too Good To Go app because it grants you the option to choose what you’re paying for. However, whatever app you ultimately end up using, you’ll have comfort in knowing you’re doing good for our planet by avoiding food waste. Find more information on the Food for All app, here.
Another app to add to your arsenal of resources to end food waste is the Olio app. Olio connects neighbors from around the world who are using the app to share food and household items with each other for free. Connect and give away the food you won’t have time to eat with people who you already know and love in your neighborhoods with the Olio app. Better yet, go the extra mile and get people in your neighborhood involved and signed up on the app, so that you all can share a better food-sharing experience. Find more information on the Olio app, here.
Have a favorite sustainability app that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments!