3 apps that will help you follow a more sustainable life

In the areas of ethical fashion, zero waste and fighting food waste.

Those of us who try to live in the most sustainable way possible have something in common: we invest a lot of time into looking for options, checking if the packaging of a product is free of plastic, checking if a product is vegan or free of palm oil… etc. These are just a few examples of a very long list that can vary greatly depending on each individual’s understanding and goals for leading a sustainable life. The fact that there are more and more initiatives acting as a bridge between ethical consumers and companies to promote the consumption of ethical products or services is not only a massive help, but it says a lot about the growing interest in this more sustainable way of life.

In this post we talk about 3 sustainability apps that will make your life easier: the first is an ethical fashion app, the second is about buying zero waste (currently only available in Spain and in Spanish) and the third is geared toward fighting food waste. 

1. Ethical time

The first time I heard about Ethical Time was in Spring 2018, when they first launched a crowdfunding campaign that would let them develop a platform that would bring together all the small ethical fashion brands and connect them with the thousands of people looking for an alternative to the fast fashion industry. An industry known for violating workers’ human and labor rights as well as being highly polluting. 

For me, knowing that there was going to be a place where I could find clothes without the taint of slave labor, was like hearing the bells of paradise. Even better, though I didn’t know it at the time, I could also find specifically vegan clothes (saving me from having to check the materials of each item). Extra time for me and extra points for Ethical Time. 

“The textile industry is one of the most productive sectors in the world, one of the most polluting, and the one that has production and supply chains leading in violations of human and labor rights.”

Ethical time

Their mission is to “make shopping more respectful towards people, the environment and animals”. Okay, not everything on Ethical Time is vegan but “the accepted animal products are residual materials of by-products of other industries”. I would also prefer that all articles are animal product free, since I personally only consider something ethical if it is vegan. But that aspect doesn’t make the app less great.

How can you narrow down the search to find vegan clothes only? Easy. When you start to search, at the top, you will see 5 icons. One of those, Decent Work, is always activated – by default – as it’s their minimum requirement. From there the user, following their personal ethical criteria, can filter through the rest: Social Project, Local Production, Sustainability and Vegan. 

2. Go zero waste

Plastic, plastic and more plastic. Disregarding the absurdities that can be found in some supermarkets (peeled fruit encased in plastic, really?!) it’s a fact that buying or consuming without plastic is so difficult unless you do prior research and go shopping with: 

  • planning: what am I going to buy? In which stores am I going to find this in bulk or without plastic? Do I have my bags/Tupperware/storage containers? 
  • internal strenght: internal voice: “I don’t need this delicious vegan coconut yoghurt in a plastic pot; I am strong, I am strong”.
  • a lot of patience: internal voice: “Shit! This is the second time this week I forget to order a drink without a straw” or “No no no, ma’am, I have my own cloth bag” – while the cashier stares at you bemused or worse, tells you that the plastic bag she’d offering “is free”. 

The founders of Go zero waste have first-hand knowledge of these problems, because of this they created an app that locates the shops and establishments where you can buy and consume without plastic. As well as stores that don’t use plastic (for food, household cleaning, personal care, second- hand clothes…) in the future you’ll be able to find bars, restaurants, hotels and businesses.

As they have only just launched in June 2019 their database is currently focused in Spain , specifically Barcelona, but quickly spreading to incorporate other regions. If you know of any plastic free stores that aren’t in the app and you want to add them, you can do it in the app using the ‘+’ button on the right. 

Other than the search function they also have a ‘challenge’ section, for those who need some inspiration on how to reduce their plastic consumption. 

3. To good to go

Maybe you’ve heard that a third of the food produced worldwide ends up straight in the trash. A third! The worst thing is that not only is the food wasted but so are all the resources and processes invested into producing it: water, land and manual labor to name a few. Also, when they throw away food the processing of the waste has a damaging effect on the environment; this process alone is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions

Too Good To Go is an app that wants establishments to stop systematically throwing away a huge amount of their food supply. How? Offering packs of discounted food that, even in good condition, would have ended up in the bin at the end of the day. When you open the app, it shows you the pack offers available from the establishments in your zone. Said packs are a surprise (it’s not possible to choose their contents) and you buy them through the app, so that when you arrive at the establishment you just have to pick it up. 

Our suggestion, already sent to Too Good To Go, is that they expand their offer of vegan packs as for the moment most of the ‘veggie’ packs are fruit and vegetables. Not only by increasing the number of vegan establishments but by encouraging other establishments such as bakeries to have 100% vegan packs. 

“Reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reverse global warming.”

Chad Frischmann, climate change expert

Even though living in a more sustainable way still isn’t ‘mainstream’ and we have to give more effort, apps like these make our lives a little easier and say a lot about how the world is evolving. 

Do you know these apps? Try them and let us know your opinion online! 

And if this post has been useful for you, don’t forget to share it to inspire more people with ideas and tools for a more sustainable life!

*The data and information for this post has been sourced from the web pages of the apps.