Throughout 2018 I was learning about new ideas, businesses, communities and meetups, campaigns and government action related to the environment and particularly to climate change. The goal of this website is to share all that information while trying to keep up to speed with everything that’s happening around the city. This first part of the
“Sustainable Living in 2019, London” series of posts is all about technology that either started out in the city or is applicable here and can help to live more sustainably. In the process of writing this post I actually found out about a lot of apps for the first time. So, I’ll start off with my picks, which are mostly based on my own experience, then move on to the apps I’m hoping to try out throughout this year.
EcoEd – test your knowledge with this eco-quiz game. You can also pledge to live more sustainably and challenge your friends.
Giki – shop more consciously with Giki, simply use the app to scan the barcode of a product in your local supermarket and see how ethical it is.
Karma – this app is working with some great restaurants and cafes to offer you discount on food. Reduce food-waste and eat on the cheap
screenshot from Giki
Olio – a food-sharing app, so if you bought the wrong brand of Ketchup, or if the veggies you bought won’t survive the weekend you’re going away, just post them on the app. You can get great stuff from people in your neighbourhood, maybe you’ll even make friends with the neighbours.
Refill – find out where you can fill you water bottle around the city. The app is location-based so you can find the closest places to you.
Santander Cycles – AKA Boris bikes, the tfl bike-sharing scheme has a dedicated app but is also in sync with CityMapper (if you choose bicycle route the app will display the Santander Cycles option). Facing some fierce competition from Ofo and Mobike (see below) Bikes are parked in docking stations in zones 1 and 2. Single hire (up to 30 mins ride, for up to 10 rides in 24 hours) is 2£, an annual pass is 90£.
Too good to go – this food rescue app comes with a twist – you can pick the café or restaurant you’d like but the food you’re getting from them is a surprise.
Refill screenshot showing stations to fill up water around the city
Some more apps to check out in 2019, by category:
Cycling: In addition to tfl’s Santander Cycles mentioned above, other dockless (no docking stations) bike-sharing schemes operate around the city:
Ofo – Available in the City, Hackney, Camden Islington and north Southwark. 30p to unlock the bike then, 50p for every ride of up to 30 minutes capped at 5£ a day.
Mobike – 1£ for every 20 minutes, passes are available: 30 day pass: 9.90£; 90 day pass: 24.90£; 180 day pass: 49.90£; 360 day pass: 59.90£. Available in the City, Camden, Islington, Southwark, Ealing and Hounslow
Lime e – Electric dockless bike scheme in Brent and Ealing. Bikes cost 1£ to unlock then 15p per minute.
Urbo– its fate at this point isn’t clear.
Car and Ride-sharing:
Ok, so this is a contentious topic, with some people making the case that car and ride-sharing don not replace car ownership and in some cases even replace public transport rides, lead to more car-rides and subsequently create more pollution and emissions. Having said that, the companies themselves, particularly Uber, tell a different story. In addition to Uber, and Viavan check out ride shares on blablacar or car sharing on this tfl car-club list
Joining food-rescuing apps Karma, Olio, Too Good To Go and the tap mapping app Refill are restaurant finder apps Greenease for restaurants sourcing their products locally and Happy Cow finding vegan restaurants near you. Zero Waste Near Me shows you anything from street markets to health food shops that are zero waste or plastic-free. Farmdrop is a food delivery app connecting you with local producers and Food Cloud connects supermarkets with charities so any surplus the supermarket has can go to the charity. The Good Fish Guide app lets you know which fish are sustainable. Lastly, while not strictly an app, you can check your food’s carbon footprint and water usage on BBC’s calculator.
BBC’s calculator at work, showing the amount of water used and greenhouse gas emissions produced by consuming an apple a day.
Lifestyle and Awareness:
Joulebug is an app that offers tips and ideas on how to make life more sustainable, lets you take on challenges, share your wins on social media and track your progress. #Climate brings you climate related updates from around the web and Energy Consumption Analyzer (only for Android) calculates your gas, electricity and water usage so you know where you can cut cut down. Sustainable lifestyle website BIC BIM also has a directory of ethical brnads.
A variety of apps offer either renting clothes (Girl meets dress, Chic by Choice, Wear the Walk) or buying second hand (Depop, Vinted and many others). Of these it’s worth mentioning London-based luxury marketplace Hardly ever worn it. Compare Ethics (website) offers an ethical fashion shopping experience giving the different brands a score based on different categories such as “vegan”, “plastic free packaging” and “living wage”. You can also check out Ethical brands at Ethical Brand Directory.
If you know of any other cool apps let us know in the comments. See you in part 2 of the series