June 6 is World Environment Day, a United Nations’ campaign to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment.
Sustainability is of global importance and it is big business, too. If you’re looking to shop ethically, buy locally, and re-use and recycle this year, you’ll find plenty of communities, businesses, and apps out there to help.
Here are five of the best apps for forming sustainable habits, and shopping and living ethically this year. All the apps listed are available for free on both IOS and Android.
Ailuna – a Hawaiian word meaning “upwards”, “up there”, or “aiming high” – is an app that claims to help you make better choices. It uses behavioural science to help you form habits through a targeted “dare” system.
The app’s “dare team” use the latest advice and thinking on sustainable issues to create dares to help you cut down on single-use plastics, switch off lights around your home, or take shorter showers, for example.
Dares initially last a week and new ones are added each month so you can pick the areas you want to focus on.
You can set yourself goals and track progress, challenging yourself to make changes to your carbon footprint and household waste. But you don’t have to go it alone. There is a social element to the app too.
You can talk to like-minded people, discuss dare progress, and set your own challenges for family and friends. You’ll also find tips and encouragement from the team behind the app, helping to build a community of people with a shared purpose.
With over 15 million users worldwide, you could join a growing number of internet users who are planting trees through the searches they make.
Ecosia is an extension you add to your desktop or smartphone browser. As you search using the app, the ad income you generate is paid to Ecosia, who use the money to plant trees.
The app claims to have planted over 125 million trees since it launched in 2009, with 9,000 planting sites globally. Sites include Indonesia, Peru, and Uganda, where the trees they plant are helping to create forest corridors for chimpanzees whose habitat is shrinking through human actions.
The app publishes monthly financial reports and won’t sell your data. Every search you make removes 1kg of CO2 from the air, so you’ll be doing your bit for the environment with every internet search you make.
3. Too Good to Go
Global food waste has an enormous impact on CO2 emissions, with a third of food produced in the world being wasted, causing 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions. The UK alone wastes nearly seven million tonnes of food each year.
The Too Good to Go app launched in 2016. It is currently used in 15 countries and has over 32 million users. It tackles the issue of food waste by creating “magic bags”, comprising a lucky dip of food from supermarkets, cafés and restaurants.
You can use the app to check for participating establishments close to you and pay through the app. Each bag you buy saves an estimated 2.5 kg of CO2 emissions.
As well as working with businesses and individuals, the app has connections with 500 schools and hopes to impact food waste regulation globally.
Giki launched in 2018. It uses information about more than 280,000 products to help you understand the ethical credentials of the products you buy.
The app assigns “badges” to products to rate how sustainable, ethical, and healthy they are. It looks at chemicals of concern, animal testing, the use of palm oil, and whether products are UK-made, thereby cutting down the carbon footprint associated with transportation.
Simply scan the barcode of a given product and the app provides the information in badge form. Where a product fares badly the app can recommend alternatives to help change your shopping habits.
AWorld is the app chosen by the United Nations to support its ActNow Campaign. Intended to highlight the individual actions we can all take to tackle climate change and support sustainability, it is looking to change habits and provide us with the information we need to make informed choices that are less harmful to the planet.
The app supports the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan that provides 17 goals for world action.
The app itself works as a tool for logging each individual action you take – turning off lights, using a bag for life – and then calculating the impact of your actions, be it on saving water, energy, or reducing carbon emissions.
By viewing your impact and seeing the progress you are making, the app can help to form good habits. Why not try it this World Environment Day?