Make eco-friendly living easier, with this handy guide to the best sustainability apps in 2023 that can help you eat, shop and live more green, many whilst saving you serious amounts of money.
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Living sustainably can be hard at the best of times. But throw in a cost of living crisis, and things seem so much harder.
However, there are a host of sustainability apps out there, seeking to help you live in a more environmentally friendly way, whilst helping you save money on your food bills, take eco action, or find the best deal.
From the apps that offer free food, free household items, or plant free trees on your behalf. To apps that help you find discounted food or show you where to get discounts when you take your own container or cups. To apps that help you find plant-based places to eat, based on your budget. You name it, there’s an app for it!
The Best Sustainability Apps
Here are some of the best sustainability apps available right now to help you cut your household costs, cut waste, and live more sustainably at the touch of a button.
Use the quick links below to skip to information about each app, or keep scrolling for the full post:
💷 Completely free to download and use (with the option to include a paid-for subscription to plant trees)
If you are looking to track and reduce the carbon footprint of the food you eat, then Reewild is the app to download. This free sustainability app lets you uncover the environmental impact of everyday grocery products and discover greener alternatives.
Where it differs from traditional green shopping apps is that Reewild helps you learn about the climate impact of not just individual grocery products, but recipes too.
The handy app also allows you to track the items you consume in your carbon footprint tracker. This process helps to educate you on which foods are high in carbon, whilst helping you to find lower-carbon alternatives. You are also given a Carbon Calorie Goal – based on the Paris Climate Agreement – and you can then aim to keep the carbon emissions from the food you eat within that goal.
You can achieve medals and rewards for taking part. Plus you can challenge your friends to reduce their carbon footprint to up the competition level. You can also find exclusive promotions and offers from sustainable brands and retailers to help you in your sustainability journey.
Whilst the app is free to use, you can optionally add on a paid-for subscription – ranging from £4.60 to £18.40 a month – to help plant trees, restore peatlands and rewild landscapes. This is carried out by Reewild’s reputable partners – including Eden Reforestation Projects and Protect Earth. You can use the code FREEWILD to get the first month free on any Reewild subscription.
💷 Completely free to download and use (with the option to be a paid supporter)
Think there’s no such thing as a free lunch? You haven’t come across the OLIO sustainability app then. This free sharing app is dedicated to tackling the huge problem of food waste.
The OLIO app allows users to make items available on the app for pick-up for free, helping you to cut food waste, save money on food, and be more sustainable.
Users can browse nearby available listings, request items, and arrange a pick-up. Expect to find free food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, such as Tesco, unsold sandwiches or cakes from cafes such as Pret A Manger, or unsold bread from your local baker. You’ll also find homegrown vegetables or groceries from people’s fridges or cupboards that they aren’t using, but haven’t yet reached their use-by dates.
OLIO doesn’t just cover food. You’ll find free non-food household items listed too. This includes items such as clothes, toys, and beauty products, amongst others.
To access items, browse the listings available near you, make a request, and then arrange to collect the item via OLIO’s inbuilt private messaging system.
To list an item, open the app, add a photo, a description of the item, and when and where the item is available for pick-up. This could be your home, a safe space, or a public location. You’ll then be notified when someone requests your item. For your safety, you can view a user’s profile, verifications and star rating before deciding to share with them.
Too Good To Go
💷 Completely free to download and use – with a cost to buy discounted food
The Too Good To Go app aims to eliminate food waste and save you money. It does this by putting you in touch with local supermarkets, bakeries, cafes and restaurants which have leftover food at the end of the day. These then let you buy bags of food at a highly discounted rate, saving it from the bin.
In this sustainability app, you have the option to buy a ‘magic bag’ of leftover food from local shops, cafes and restaurants via the app. This includes stores such as Waitrose, M&S, and Starbucks, as well as smaller, local stores and garages.
Each bag costs between £2 and £6. Too Good To Go says the food will be worth at least three times as much as if you’d bought it at full price.
Once you’ve selected the store or cafe you want to rescue food from, you pay via the app. Then simply visit the location during the set collection time to pick up your bag.
As the contents of your bag vary based on what has gone unsold, there’s no guarantee about what will be in your bag. However, you do have the option to set limited dietary preferences – either vegetarian or vegan – to help ensure you do not receive any meat or dairy products you wouldn’t normally eat.
To get started, simply download the sustainability app for free from Apple’s iOS App Store or the Google Play Store. You’ll then need to create a free account using your email address, or by logging in via Facebook, to browse the food available near you.
💷 Completely free to download and use
With over 8 million users across the globe, all giving and getting free stuff in their local communities, Freecycle is one of the biggest sustainability apps out there.
The app is (in my opinion) an easier, more user-friendly version of the Freecycle website. Browse offers of free stuff in your local community, or requests, or search for what you are looking for.
With the app’s aim to trash nothing, you will find a myriad of items listed for free pickup. From surplus decorating supplies, such as tiles, wallpaper or wood, to furniture, toys, homeware and much more. I even came across a set of four Dire Straits VHS videotapes, should that just be the very thing that you are looking for!
To get started, simply download the Freecycle app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Set your location to browse what’s available near you. Should you wish to list or collect anything, you’ll need to create a free account using your email address. Or you can log in via your Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo or Apple account.
💷 Completely free to download and use
Described as the simplest way to be climate active every day whilst browsing the web, Ecosia uses 100% of its profits made from user searches to fund projects that are taking climate action. From planting trees in areas where they are needed most, to generating solar energy – your searches fund positive change.
How it works is simple. Like other search engines, Ecosia is paid by advertisers to show adverts next to your search results. Ecosia then uses that income to plant trees and fund solar projects. Ecosia wants trees, not data. This means they don’t create a profile of you, and will never sell your details to advertisers.
20 million people have so far planted 155,000,000+ trees, and supported 60+ active projects in 30+ countries.
There’s no need to log in or set up an account. All you have to do is download the free sustainability app for free from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, and get searching, to start planting trees.
💷 Completely free to download and use
The free Refill app connects you to places to eat, drink and shop with less waste.
Created by the City to Sea charity – an environmental organisation on a mission to stop plastic pollution – the app helps people to live with less plastic. This means anyone can download the free app to tap into a global network of places to reduce, reuse and refill.
Using the free sustainability app you can find:
- Local places that offer free water refill points.
- Places offering discounts and rewards for bringing your own cup.
- Places you take your own lunchboxes to get your food to go.
- Public water fountains added by the Refill community.
- Local refill/packaging-free shops
So, whether it’s a coffee on your commute or drinking water on the go, or even shopping with less plastic, Refill makes it easy to go packaging-free at your fingertips.
Participating restaurants and cafes offering free water refill points can display their affiliation in their windows. This makes it easy for you to know that you’ve gone to the right place. With more than 274,000 Refill stations offering water refills globally, you can be sure you’re never too far away from a refill point.
💷 £3.49 one-time fixed fee on Apple / free on Google Play
Finally, the Happy Cow App allows you to find vegetarian and vegan cafes and restaurants near you, rated by its community of users. Active in 180+ countries, and with over 156,000 listings and 2 million downloads this app helps you to live a plant-based lifestyle, even when you are travelling.
Completely free to use, find the best places to eat or the best vegan shops in your local area. Download the app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store to start finding top-rated places near you, filterable by budget. From inexpensive spots to higher-end places for a special meal.
As always, as I find more sustainability apps that I find useful, I’ll be sure to update this list. Do check back later to see what I’ve found!