Life in the Time of COVID
By: Maria Casey
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that our world is facing the largest climate crisis of our generation. By the end of the last decade, fires had wiped out entire cities in California, Australia and the Amazon were ablaze, we surpassed record temperatures five times, hurricanes devastated Puerto Rico and New Jersey, and floods damaged Texas, the Midwest, and Bangladesh.
Check the news on any given day, and if it's not another Twitter Rant (what did he say this time?), it's footage from another natural disaster forever changing our landscape. Global emissions are expected to hit an all-time high this year, and most corporations aren't acting fast enough to implement sustainability practices to correct this course. In fact according to a report from the CDP, just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions since 1988.
So rather than waiting for everyone else to start doing their part, here are our 10 favorite sustainability apps that help us be more intentional every day. At the very least, they can serve as a nice reminder to take action rather than logging more time getting lost in Instagram.
Of course, having a reusable water bottle helps reduce your waste. But how much does it actually help the planet? In the United States alone, 50 billion disposable water bottles are produced each year. This takes 17 million barrels of oil to create. Not to mention, the average American saves around $200 a year by not buying bottled water. And Tap is here to make it easier. They will show you the closest refill stations to you, so you can stay hydrated even when you’re gone all day.
When it comes to making lifestyle changes and new habits, it can feel overwhelming. This is why JouleBug was created. They give you hints and tips that help you live a greener life. When you make these changes, you can share the progress with your friends, compete nationally, and track your own updates. You’ll end up saving money and saving the planet while also rewarding yourself with every step.
Basic recycling doesn’t seem too hard. But do you know what kind of plastics you can’t recycle? What about pizza boxes? And where can you bring old furniture? With iRecycle, you don’t have to keep wondering. Their interface makes it so easy to figure out. All you do is click through the categories to find what you’re wanting to recycle, and they’ll give you a list of places where you can take it.
Okay, this is one of our favorite sustainability apps — and apps in general — that we’ve ever discovered. It’s easy to stop unwanted spam emails, but we’ve never known what to do about junk mail. And just think about how many pieces of mail and catalogs you throw away. And then multiply that by everyone else on the mailing list. Yikes. PaperKarma makes it easy to put an end to it. All you do is take a picture in the app of the return label, and they’ll unsubscribe you. It might sound too good to be true, but somehow they’re doing it.
We didn’t pick this app for the name, but it helps. Ever wonder what all of those ingredients in your makeup actually are? Well, us too. While we're loving all of the advancements in natural skincare and makeup, sometimes it's still hard to know exactly which products are actually safe (greenwashing anyone?!). ThinkDirty lets you scan the barcode on your favorite products to find out if it’s clean or if there are cleaner alternatives. Sustainable Living Hack!
If children are the future and you have some in your present day, then Care for the World is a must. Youth Activists have given the complacent population a wake up call. And we're [finally] listening. By taking family steps toward a greener life, we can teach them the habits that they’ll use to better the world. When we really don't want them to do what we've done, we gotta show them an alternative. Right? Care for our World teaches them fundamentals about our world and the animals they're working to protect.
Of course, it’s always great to opt for biking or public transportation when you can. But sometimes, longer trips mean that isn’t an option. Turo is an app that connects people who aren’t using their cars with those who need to use a car, so you can still have the ease access to a car without the carbon footprint of owning one. This takes ride sharing to a whole new level.
Ever been stuck and confused about where to actually find these sustainable alternatives for your everyday? Aside from all of the departments we have at BUHO (we got you covered there), you may want to find the closest green restaurant. Or an eco-friendly hair salon. That’s where CoGo — short for Connecting Good — comes in. Let the app know your main priorities and what you are looking for, and they’ll do the rest.
We’ve all been in a situation where we had a lot more food than we could eat. And you can’t even imagine how much food your local restaurants and grocery stores end up throwing away. The waste is the opposite of our sustainable living plan. So OLIO wanted to help. They connect you to people in your neighborhood and local stores so everyone can find a way to reduce their waste. At the last update, they’ve helped facilitate 2,337,250 portions of food being shared, and that number is growing rapidly.
Refresh Go Green is another one of the best sustainability apps out there. This will serve as your daily sustainability reminder. You can choose the level of change you want, from one new step a week to five. They’ll prompt you with the tip while giving you the specific steps and also explaining why that will help you and the world.
Comment below to let us know the best sustainability apps that you’ve discovered! And stay tuned for more tips for ethical living and eco-friendly shopping.