How to go green online
Written by Emmanuelle Gammage
I spend a lot of time online. Whether it’s for work, socialising, finding inspiration, shopping – you name it, the internet plays a huge role.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if I’m using the internet nearly all the time, then surely I should be looking into making my online habits greener.
Luckily, the internet is a wonderful place and going green is easy! There are absolutely tons of green apps out there to help you measure your environmental impact and lessen it.
Search with Ecosia
Ecosia is a search engine (like Google) with a twist. Whenever you search on Ecosia, they plant a tree where the Earth needs it most, like Indonesia, Peru, Madagascar and many more. One tree is planted nearly every second, either in an area to protect wildlife, tackle climate change or fight hunger.
So far, they’ve planted 125,000,000 trees, and they just keep planting more.
When you need to search something, simply search with Ecosia rather than Google and you’re making a huge difference with minimal effort. After just 45 searches, they’ll plant a tree.
You’re probably wondering how it all works because it sounds too good to be true. Ecosia generates revenue when you click on an ad. They use at least 80% of their profits to plant trees. With the other 20% profits they invest in renewable energy, regenerative agriculture and grassroots activism.
And it gets better. Ecosia is completely transparent: publishing monthly financial reports so you can see exactly where the income from your searches is being planted. It also more than CO2 neutral as their servers run on 200% renewable energy while removing one kilogramme of CO2 from the atmosphere with every search.
To make it even easier to choose green, they’ve added a little green leaf icon next to eco-friendly organisations and a little coal icon next to planet-destructive companies. Plus, the personal counter in the top right corner of the site shows you how many searches you’ve made.
Honestly, it sounds cliche but I can’t believe I didn’t make the switch sooner.
Rescue with Too Good To Go
Food waste is a huge issue: 3.6 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year in the UK, of which 2 million is still edible. With the Too Good To Go app, you can grab a Magic Bag of food from your favourite restaurants and supermarket to save perfectly good food going to waste.
Many of us live an active lifestyle and cooking sometimes takes a back seat. Rather than grabbing a takeaway, you can save yourself some cash and reduce your carbon footprint by grabbing a Magic Bag of unsold food.
All you have to do is download the app, search for restaurants near you and see what’s available. You buy it through the app and pick it up during the collection window they give you. It’s basically the same as ordering a takeaway, only cheaper and better for the planet.
It’s a lucky dip because you never know what you’re going to get until you open your bag up, hence why it’s called a ‘Magic Bag’ – surprise!
Soon I’m moving to a bigger town and I am so excited for the opportunities to grab some more delicious bags.
Connect with CoGo
When you first register with CoGo (Connecting Good) you can choose the issues you care about, like: if something is sustainably sourced, carbon neutral, reduces waste, vegan and more. Then you can search for local businesses and support the ones that share your values.
There are tons of businesses on the app, from clothing brands to restaurants, so you can always check if you’re shopping sustainably.
I particularly like CoGo because it monitors my spending and calculates my personalised carbon footprint.
Check with Giki
Giki helps you find sustainable products in your supermarket simply by scanning the barcode. With every scan, the product wins badges depending on how sustainable, healthy or fair it is.
Products can be allocated the following badges:
- No chemicals of concern
- Free from additives
- Greener cosmetics
- Healthier option
- Responsibly sourced
- Animal welfare
- Kinder cleaning
- No animal testing
- Low carbon footprint
- Sustainable palm oil
- Better packaging
- Hero products
With over 280,000 supermarket products registered, Giki helps you understand the impact that your product choices have, and prompts you with sustainable swaps – doing all the hard work for you.
If you’re looking to make easy changes, aim to swap one of your usual products for a greener substitute every time you shop.
Plan with Kitche
Kitche helps combat foot waste at home rather than in the food industry. The app allows you to scan your supermarket receipts so that it knows exactly what you have in your kitchen. Then, it helps you plan your meals and even gives you recipe ideas.
It’s a super useful app to reduce your food waste and manage your wallet. It also alerts you to items nearing their use-by dates so you’ll never forget a jar at the back of a cupboard again.
Track your habits with Oroeco
Oroeco helps track your climate impact and gives you personalised tips to minimise it. It automatically assigns a carbon value to everything you buy, what you eat, where and how you travel and it measures the energy you use at home. It adds everything up for you and helps you assess where you can make the biggest changes.
It does all of the hard work, you just have to follow their advice.
What I love most is that you can compete and collaborate with your friends to make it fun and rewarding. If you all use the app, you can challenge each other and encourage others to get involved too.
Refill with Refill
Refill wants to make it easier for people to live without plastic. It connects users to places where they can shop, eat and drink without tons of plastic packaging.
Originally it was an app purely for refilling water bottles (there are 30,000 refill stations) but now you can find places offering discounts and rewards for bringing your own coffee cup, find places to take your own lunchboxes for on-the-go food, find water fountains and plastic-free grocery shopping.
Just look for businesses on the app or the blue tap sticker in shop windows.
Rent with Fat Llama
Yes, the name Fat Llama is weird and I have no clue how it relates to the concept but essentially, it’s a rental platform. People upload stuff they have to rent – like instruments, camera gear, sewing machines or even transport – and other people can pay to use it.
This is an amazing idea if you don’t need something for a long period of time or you’re not totally sure if you want to invest yet. Save yourself some cash and refrain from purchasing something you don’t really need!
I was thinking of renting some walking boots because I haven’t decided if I’m a hiking lover yet.
Grow with Planta
I’m a huge plant lover! I have 13 and counting (and that’s just in my bedroom) and it’s hard to keep track of them all. With Planta, it alerts me when I need to water, mist, clean and repot my precious plants.
It also identifies plants for you and recommends where they should go in your home depending on how much sunlight they need.
Houseplants are a great way to purify the air in your home and aid your well-being. With Planta, you’ll never have to worry about killing another plant.
What’s more, joining our Home Club can help you further reduce your impact on the planet.