Go green with apps in 2020 and save humanity with your phone

Apps to unleash your eco-friendly side, so you can live greener and more ethically

We’re running out of time to leave the world in a habitable state, but your own habits are tricky to change. Fortunately, you’ve got the best possible tool at hand (or in pocket): your phone.

Grab the right apps and you can produce less waste, eat greener, have your everyday activities result in trees being planted, and more. Which apps? These apps:

Too Good To Go

A third of all food that’s produced ends up in the bin. This app helps you find stores offloading unsold grub that’s still edible and tasty. It’s particularly good in larger cities, where loads of shops sell so-called ‘magic bags’. Sadly, these aren’t full of wizards and spells, but do contain a selection of goodies from the joint in question – and at a fraction of the price you’d normally pay.

Get Too Good To Go (£free) / Android, iOS

Vanilla Bean

If you want to do your bit for the environment, cutting out – or even just down – on meat is a good start. When you fancy eating out, this app quickly directs you to nearby places that offer vegan fare. Too set on something made from a bit of an animal? You can at least ramp up the green in another way, filtering your selection to include restaurants that sell local and organic produce.

Get Vanilla Bean (£free) / Android, iOS

Green Kitchen

When you want to cook some food yourself, you can of course check out the veggie and vegan sections of Tasty, Kitchen Stories, and Yummly. But for a more curated selection of greener tasty treats, try Green Kitchen. Within, you’ll find over 150 hand-picked premium recipes, with photo guides, estimated cooking times, and smart timers that will ensure you don’t burn the lettuce.

Get Green Kitchen (£3.99) / iOS

CoGo

Plenty of businesses happen to be run by toe-rags who hate the world, their staff, and your face. Fortunately, you can avoid them by installing CoGo. Well, sort of. You can at least define your personal values – carbon conscious companies, co-operatives, living wage advocates, and the like – before perusing a map that highlights ethnical and sustainable businesses whose outlooks reflect your own.

Get CoGo (£free) / Android, iOS

Refill

Buying water that’s been sucked out of the ground hundreds of miles away, poured into a plastic bottle you’ll later toss, had a journey on a massive lorry, and finally ended up in a shop, is not doing a lot for your eco credentials. However, getting dehydrated is also bad news. So grab a refillable canteen and this app, and hope its database of where you can fill up for free is suitably accurate.

Get Refill (£free) / Android, iOS

Eco-Tracker

There are various habit trackers you can install on your device, but this one specifically focusses on eco-friendly tasks. The idea is that, every day, you rate your success on things like walking, using electronic devices rather than paper (hurrah!), and avoiding single-use plastic. Over time, your stats create a colourful bar chart, enabling you to see at a glance what you need to work on.

Get Eco-Tracker (99p) / iOS

Eevie - Eco Habit Tracker

If Eco-Tracker makes your eyes swim or you’re on Android, try Eevie for keeping tabs on your new-found eco-friendly ways. You select habits and the app then bugs you on a daily basis to see how you’ve done. There are 20 habits to choose from, each of which has a card that explains in which specific way you’re wrecking the planet if you don’t take it up. A wiggly line outlines your impact over time.

Get Eevie (£free) / Android, iOS

Forest

In this productivity aid, you set a timer and avoid using your phone as the clock ticks down. Succeed and you get a virtual tree to plant. Should you wobble and change apps, Forest sternly tells you to switch back. Ignore this warning and your tree becomes a dead stick. Success also earns you coins to spend on planting real trees – a solid reward for just getting on with your work anyway.

Get Forest (£1.79) / Android • (£1.99) / iOS

Ecosia

Want to fool yourself into thinking faffing about on the internet can also make the world a better place? Then install Ecosia. Like other search engines, it makes money from advertising; the difference is, Ecosia spends its cash on planting trees. The app’s only keen on digging into real dirt too, rather than yours, and so your searches aren’t tracked, and your data’s never sold.

Get Ecosia (£free) / Android, iOS