Sometimes it is the little things that add up and help to make a difference. We asked the aware_ team what the easiest way is to integrate sustainability into their everyday life. Starting to become more sustainable, small tips, tricks and advice are important. Which is why we have collected our team’s favourite sustainable apps which help us to avoid waste, conserve resources, and better integrate sustainability into our daily lives.
“Food waste is a huge climate driver. That is why I try to use as much from the produce as possible – for example, the greens of carrots or kohlrabi. With some fruits and vegetables, you can even plant the stalk and grow a new plant from it.”
Niklas, Manager Business Developments & Partnerships at aware_
The app Too Good To Go offers delicious leftover boxes from local restaurants for sale just before closing time. Another app called UXA gives its users the opportunity to give away leftover food – for example before going on vacation. The food is then available for pickup at an agreed time. The information campaign Zu gut für die Tonne! by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture provides numerous tips on shopping, stock planning, shelf life and optimum food storage as well as more than 400 recipes for recycling leftovers. Finally, the app Eat Smarter provides suitable recipes for utilizing leftovers. Additionally, the app offers the option to eat with a focus on specific health or fitness goals.
The following two apps also deal with the topic of nutrition: Happy Cow is an app for vegan and vegetarian locations worldwide. The locations are displayed on a map which you can filter by “vegan”, “vegetarian”, “veggie-friendly” and “stores & more”. The app Quit Meat helps to become more vegetarian or vegan and it also tracks the impact of the user’s diet. The app calculates the consumption of animal products, water as well as greenhouse gases. Additionally, it offers a code scanner, which reveals whether the products are vegan, recipe ideas as well as articles and facts about the animal kingdom.
“When I shop, I pay attention to the origin and seasonality of the products. A pineapple takes an average of two years to grow. Then, it is harvested and transported far and expensively from its country of origin to us – laying in supermarket shelves all year round. Certainly, that is not necessary.”
Marie, Communications Manager at aware_
Seasonal shopping is important for the environment, saves money and the produce is much fresher. Which is why the electronic shopping aid GrünZeit displays the current seasonal fruits and vegetables – month by month. Tropical fruits, too, are listed with their respective seasonal times abroad. Another great app is the RegioApp which shows all types of food grown and processed in the area as well as restaurants in the region who use regional products. You can search via locations or product groups, find farm stores and other direct marketers. All companies listed in the RegioApp are committed to comprehensive transparency and the principles of sustainability.
“I try to gradually integrate sustainable products into my everyday life. The durability, reusability and origin of the products play an important role to me.”
Lena, Co-Founder at aware_
When trying to choose between sustainable and convenience products, the app CodeCheck can give advice: From cosmetics to food, all kinds of items can be checked by barcode for ingredients, to evaluate lifestyle and nutrition, climate score and labels and seals of approval. This not only ensures that no harmful substances are contained, but also how environmentally friendly the product is. For poorly rated items, CodeCheck automatically suggests more sustainable alternatives.
“If I can go for a run and do something good for the environment at the same time, whether it’s picking up trash or planting trees, I’m intrigued!”
Kim, Co-Founder at aware_
Of course, you can pick up trash whenever you pass it on the streets, you do not necessarily need an app for it. Yet, the app Active Giving goes a step further with providing a digital fitness solution that enables active people to contribute to social and environmental projects with their fitness routine. The app converts the burned calories or run kilometers into trees. So far, over one million trees have been planted. Another great way is Go Green Challenge. The app encourages a more sustainable lifestyle by setting a daily or weekly task such as using less plastic or producing less garbage. The app letsact suggests social projects in the neighbourhood that users can get involved in – whether it is a clean-up, gardening or cooking project.
“We all need a tailor or seamstress. Our culture has become so used to just throwing things away, we’ve forgotten what it’s like to truly look after our clothing. There is nothing more satisfying than picking an altered piece, tailored just to fit you.”
Eliza, Journalist at aware_
Fashion enthusiasm is soften opposed to a sustainable lifestyle. Second hand comes in handy when wanting to interrupt the madness of the fast fashion industry, especially if you buy secondhand fashion of fair and sustainable labels. Secondhand apps offer a wide range of fashion if there is not enough the time or inclination to browse second-hand stores or flea markets. With the app Vinted you can use different filters (e.g., size, color or category) to find the right item of clothing. You can either have the items shipped to your doorstep or pick them up having things displayed directly from the surrounding area. There is also a swap function to trade items directly between two private individuals with the price being as stated or also negotiated. The app CLOTHESfriends follows the concept of circular fashion by renting out fashion pieces. Users can upload their fashion pieces or renting them from others, having the items delivered home or picking them up at local hubs from cafés to stores. The in-app CO2 calculator helps to estimate emissions and gives tips on how to make your everyday life more sustainable. When buying secondhand clothing, products may not always be in the absolute desired format, which leads to higher appreciation of the products and an attitude that can counteract the throwaway culture. The UK-based app Sojo connects customers to local seamster businesses through bicycle delivery service so that people can get their clothes altered or repaired with a few simple clicks.
Buying secondhand fashion does not only save resources but also money. The app Tommorow takes care of your finances in a more sustainable way. The app shows the consumer their impact on the banks’ investments in sustainable industries such as renewable energy, ecological agriculture and green mobility. With each Euro spent, the bank protects 1 m² of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. With an upgrade to a paid account the bank enables the consumer’s offset of their carbon footprint. The finance app rubarb enables automated investing in sustainable ETFs: via savings plan or one-time payments, one automatically invests in an ETF portfolio compiled based on ESG criteria for ecological, social and ethical investing. On request, rubarb automatically rounds up current account purchases to invest in ETFs on a weekly basis.
“I try to borrow and lend all sorts of things. If that is not possible, I try to reuse most things like wrapping paper or package boxes.”
Leonie, Social Media Manager at aware_
The app repacket finds nearby retailers that reuse packaging cartons. Due to a lack of contacts with people who would donate their packaging materials, packaging is often only used once and then thrown away in perfect condition. Repacket solves this problem with their circular economy approach. The app Refill is a zero waste app that helps to save plastic bottles by showing locations where you can refill your water bottle with tap water in your area. In Bristol, the city where the app was created, there are a whole 200 refill stations, but also in Germany the app is now quite widespread, so that you can find refill stations even in smaller towns.
The app My little Plastic Footprint as well strives to fight the use of single-use plastic: the app calculates the Plastic Mass Index (PMI) and shows how its users can reduce their plastic consumption in various areas of daily life – by starting a plastic diet or recommending sustainable alternatives for products its users want to cut down on.
“Sharing is caring, especially if it is about the planet! When it comes to mobility there are many ways of sharing and saving unnecessary emissions.”
Luis, Sr. Manager New Business & Strategic Partnerships at aware_
The carbon footprint and CO2 tracker of the app Capture monitors the daily CO2 emissions of its users. Each activity can be precisely entered into the app. You can determine the means of transport, the duration of the trip and the associated emission into the atmosphere. CO2 emissions can be compensated within the app with a donation to various projects, such as support for the development of renewable energy sources. Another great app for shared mobility is flinc with which you can find drivers and passengers to share your rides with. With flinc you can build your personal commuter network, easily search for colleagues in your area with the same destination, arrange to travel together and make new contacts.
by Marie Klimczak