More of us should be thinking about living a more sustainable lifestyle. Our morning commutes, what we eat for lunch and how we use our utilities at home all have an enormous impact on our communities and on our planet. Knowing where to start however can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. That's where our smartphones come in.
From tackling food waste to understanding the real impact the products we buy have on the planet, there really is an app for everything!
Below, we share seven free apps that are guiding the team at Priori Data toward making more sustainable, healthy choices.
Ecosia is a search engine with an ecological aspiration. The Berlin-based company makes money through advertising revenues but unlike other search engines, the majority of Ecosia’s profits are donated toward funding tree-planting projects around the world. Since December 2009, Ecosia estimates that over 67 million trees have been planted thanks to its users.
The company’s carbon footprint may be low, however our data shows that Ecosia’s global footprint is ever-increasing. For the month of August 2019, the app was installed on over 3.2 million devices worldwide – a 77% increase from the previous month.
Boasting approximately 2.1 million monthly active users (MAU), Ecosia’s most engaged users in Europe are based in France (288k) and Germany (185k). Outside of Europe, Brazil is the app’s largest market with 223k monthly active users.
UK startup OLIO is helping to eliminate food waste via an innovative food sharing app that connects locals or businesses with leftovers to neighbours in need. According to food waste charity WRAP, the UK throws away approximately £20bn of food every year – equivalent to more than £300 per UK citizen.
Most of us are familiar with the guilt of leaving a full fridge of food before a holiday. Olio enables users to give themselves a moral pat on the back for giving away the food they would have otherwise thrown out.
Once users sign up for an account, they simply post photos of the surplus food, share their location and voila – the items become free for users of the OLIO community.
While the majority of the app’s users are UK based, OLIO has been making significant headway in Mexico. The app’s global downloads for August 2019 neared 153k with Mexico accounting for 30% of total installs.
3. Too Good to Go
Too Good To Go (TGTG) is another innovative app helping to combat the issue of waste by providing a platform for restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and shops to sell unsold food items.
Users select what they want, pay for it through the app and collect their meal (served in a biodegradable sugarcane box) at a designated time.
Since its establishment in Denmark in 2016, TGTG has grown rapidly. The app is now available in 13 European countries and averaging an MAU count of 3.7m, making it the world’s largest online marketplace for surplus food.
France doubles as the geographical market in which TGTG has the strongest presence (974k MAU), and also the region experiencing the most growth. During the month of August 2019, the app was installed on approximately 809k devices globally with France making up more than 30% of all international downloads. TGTG also has a strong foothold in Germany with monthly active users reaching 593k in August 2019.
Fuelled by rapidly-changing trends and low-prices, fast fashion is increasingly filling up our landfills and contributing to around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to its carbon intensive supply chain and production processes, the apparel industry consumes a great deal of other resources. Oxfam’s latest campaign in the UK, Second Hand September, draws attention to the enormous volume of water required to produce a tiny amount of clothing.
As consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion, resale apps are taking off as a more sustainable way to shop. These apps have successfully transformed a space previously dominated solely by the likes of Ebay and Etsy.
Leading the pack is Depop, a hugely popular marketplace where anyone can offload their closets’ excesses and purchase items no longer wanted by others. Founded in Milan back in 2011 and now based in London, Depop distinguishes itself from competitors Poshmark, the Real Real and ThredUp by adopting a recognizable, Instagram-like interface.
With approximately 3 million monthly active users, Depop’s most committed users are located in the US (944k) and UK (1.1m). Italy and Australia are also large markets for the app, averaging 229k and142k monthly active users respectively.
Yet another app that helps divert clothing from landfills by giving them a second life, ReGAIn aims to lessen the environmental impact of the fashion industry across the UK and Europe and promote a more sustainable approach to textile consumption globally.
The app partners with a number of fashion brands and retailers including Superdry, Asics, New Balance and Missguided, and offers discounts on new buys in exchange for shoppers providing their old items to one of ReGAIN’s 20,000 drop-off points across the UK. This clothing will then be reused, recycled, upcycled or used as combustibles for energy production. In order to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum, reGAIN only accepts one drop per week per customer, with a minimum of 10 items in each shipment.
Launched in 2018, the app has already been crowned winner of Edie's 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards.
For those of you forever checking your phone needlessly, this next app will not only help cultivate focus but also rewards the environment for the time you’ve not spend fiddling your smartphone.
Published by Chinese app maker Shaokan Pi, Forest is a visual aid that incentivises users to be more productive by growing a virtual tree on a smartphone’s screen. The user simply needs to specify how long he or she wishes to remain focused for and a countdown timer will mute notifications until this time is up. If users leave the app, the tree or flower will stop growing and wilt. Through the forestry charity, Trees for the Future, the app plants trees in the real world and (at the time of writing) has so far planted 526,886.
Forest’s popularity is sweeping across the globe. So far in 2019, the app has been downloaded on approximately 31 million devices globally and averages 9 million monthly active users. The app’s top market is Russia which accounts for the biggest share of Forest’s total monthly active users (19%).
Want to save money and reduce pollution? Ditch your car at your driveway, download the Bikemap app and start covering the pavement on two wheels.
Founded in Vienna in 2014, Bikemap is a free cycling route planner that helps cyclists find bike-friendly route in over 100 countries. Cyclists can also share their favourite routes with others, together with insider info on the traffic, incline and best time to cycle.
So far this year, Bikemap has clocked over 720k downloads globally and as of 31 August 2019, the app is averaging 323k monthly active users. Compared with the same period last year, Bikemap’s MAU has catapulted by 54%.
A top level view of Bikemap’s key geographical markets depicts Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK as the locations where the app has the greatest reach. Outside of Europe, Bikemap is experiencing consistent growth in the US, Russia and Colombia.