The 5 Best Apps for Sustainable Living

It’s that time of the week, the food shop. You’ve got your canvas bags at the ready but how can you really shop ethically when our food is riddled with palm oil and other unethically sourced ingredients. These apps are designed to help us live a more sustainable life, reducing our impact on the environment whilst we shop and go about our day-to-day lives.

  1. Giki – Sustainable Shopping App
    By scanning barcodes, Giki provides a wealth of information regarding the sustainability of your food shop. Once scanning the item, you’re presented with a badge rating that ranks the product based on various factors such as health, animal welfare and whether ingredients have been responsibly sourced. The app even suggests more ethical and healthy alternatives.ricemilk
  2. Too Good To Go – The fighting food waste app
    From YoSushi to independent bakeries, this app connects customers with food businesses who want to reduce their surplus waste at the end of the day. The food you buy is pre-packed by the restaurant and sometimes you can’t choose what you buy. However, food is priced with a generous discount and provides an ethical and cheap alternative to getting a takeaway. I am based in London so options are in good supply however for those who live outside of the main cities, I’m not sure whether the use of this service is as widespread.goodtogo
  3. Ecosia – The Eco-Conscious Web Browser
    Think of a green Google. This is Ecosia. The creators of this carbon-neutral search engine promise to plant trees for every web search completed on their browsers. They provide tree ecosia-logo-951x698.jpgplanting receipts and operate a transparent financial policy so users can see for themselves that trees are being planted. You can monitor how many trees you have planted along with keeping up to date with the company’s latest global projects. It’s a really easy way to give back to the planet whilst completing everyday tasks. 

  4. reGAIN and Not My Style – Ethical Fashion Apps
    Both of these apps encourage an ethical approach to retail therapy. reGain accepts your old clothing donations and in return, you are rewarded with discount coupons for various online and high-street retailers. It is very similar to taking your clothes to the charity shop however, you are given coupons as black-friday-fashion-friends-1345082payment for your donation. I do feel somewhat conflicted with this approach as essentially the discounts encourage the user to go out and buy more goods and in the long run may not reduce the carbon footprint of the consumer.Not My Style is fighting the repercussions of ‘fast fashion’. The app informs the buyer of how ethical brands are in terms of the treatment of their workers and their environmental impact. From here, the consumer can make an informed decision before making their purchase. For more insight into ‘fast fashion’, check out my previous post, What Could You Live Without?
  5. Tap – The water bottle refill app
    This app provides the user with a map of the nearest wateractive-blue-blurred-background-1842627.jpg refill points. It encourages using your reusable bottle as opposed to buying plastic bottled water by suggesting local businesses that will re-fill your water for free. I like this app because it encourages a community feel in the bid to reduce plastic waste. Not to mention the potential for small businesses to gain exposure with a wider audience. 

Of all these apps, I feel that Ecosia and Giki will be the ones that I use the most. It’s useful to have tools at your disposal to help us make better-informed decisions about the food we eat, the clothes we wear and our general lifestyle. Hopefully, by increasing public awareness, this might put pressure on brands to assume a more ethical approach while consumers avoid products that are irresponsibly produced.

The 5 Reasons I Became A Vegetarian

Yesterday I was so clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. — Rumi

It started out as a new year’s resolution. When I announced to my friends in a pub on Boxing Day that I was going to give up meat for 2016 I didn’t really give the change much thought. A bit of tofu here, a few Quorn nuggets there, what’s the big difference?

In truth, I had no idea that embarking upon vegetarianism would change my outlook on life as much as it has. I have always felt compassion for all living creatures which was my initial reason behind going meat-free, however as I’ve continued it has become apparent that there are many other compelling reasons to go veggie. I may not have known it at the time, but here are a few of the reasons I became a vegetarian.

1. Animal Welfareorwell farm quote 2 5x5

Initially this was really the only reason I became a vegetarian. For years I had always ignored the contradiction of loving animals whilst eating them for dinner. The human ability to compartmentalise is impressive, so it’s easy to see how many of those who care for animals are happy to participate in a diet containing animal products.

Up until recently I would often feel sheepish for telling people I didn’t eat meat because I “don’t want to eat animals anymore.” On a couple of occasions I would hear opinions such as “…well, the animals are going to be killed anyway so what difference is it going to make?” In response I would just mumble something about it promoting a healthier lifestyle and then hope that the conversation would move on.

Since then I have grown more confident in broaching the subject. I am aware that my individual impact on the welfare of livestock is quite slim, however I can take solace in the fact that I am not actively participating in the intensive farming of animals for the purpose of human consumption.

2. Healthier Lifestyle

It goes without saying that by pursuing a diet with the word “veg” in the title, my fruit and vegetable intake was going to increase. I was, however, surprised to physically feel a difference so quickly. Soon after I made my resolution I felt that my stomach was flatter and I lost around 5lb without really noticing.

So how exactly is it healthier? It is proven that a vegetarian diet typically contains less saturated fat and cholesterol. As a result, it could be possible to avoid common diseases an illnesses that are borne of a poor diet.

Research has shown that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, some diet-related cancers, diverticular disease, appendicitis, constipation and gallstones. 
The Vegetarian Society –


It is important however to ensure that you are replacing the protein and iron found in meat products with equally nutritious ingredients. Green veg such as broccoli and spinach are an excellent source of iron whilst eggs, nuts and seeds can provide you with the protein you need for a balanced diet. Many delightful facts have been floating around the internet claiming that more protein can be found in a stick of broccoli vs. a cut of steak. Forgive me if I’m wrong but I believe these claims have since been debunked.

3. Carbon Footprint

I recommend that if you have a Netflix account, you take the time to watch the docu-film Cowspiracy. Before watching this, I had little to no idea of the strain that meat and dairy-farming puts on our environment. The film outlines how a plant-based diet could reduce your carbon footprint by 50%. From deforestation and emissions down to the use of water and waste generated by animal agriculture, this film throws out a lot of scary and eye-opening statistics.

There are those however who argue that being a vegetarian doesn’t help the environment as much as we would like to think. For example, production of vegetarian friendly foods can also have a negative impact on our environment. For example, the rice paddies of Asia emit methane into the atmosphere as the gas is trapped in the flooded soil.  The Climate News Network reports that “although farm animals are a major source [of methane], flooded rice paddies emit as much as 500 million tons, which is around 20% of total manmade emissions of this gas.” 

A rice paddy in Vietnam

Basically, choosing the right food to help the environment isn’t straightforward. Whether you are eating meat or not, eating local and seasonal produce is a simple way to reduce our carbon footprint therefore making us less reliant upon produce that has been flown in from overseas.

4. It’s cheapermoney-2724241_640

There are many variables to consider when talking about the change in your pocket, however on the whole I have found my food bill to be smaller. Speaking as someone who hates food shopping with a passion, it is such a relief to completely rule out at least two aisles of the supermarket.

Veggie options seem to be in abundance right now in the UK, with brands such as Quorn and Linda McCartney really stepping up their game with new recipes and meat alternatives every week. With the BBC reporting in February this year that “more than a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are either vegan or vegetarian” are we really surprised that brands and supermarkets are scrambling to dominate this growing trend?

5. Why not?

Since changing from meat-eater to veggie, I only really regret not doing it sooner. My attitude is if I can survive without eating animal products I probably should. Personally I feel it fosters a compassionate and more responsible outlook when it comes to my consumption of the earth’s natural resources. I feel encouraged to research the sustainability of my food choices as well as looking at other areas of my life that I can change for the better.

Looking back to when I sat in my local on Boxing Day nearly three years ago, I’m so pleased that I chose this as my resolution. It was much better than my other option, to stop binge-watching Netflix. Now that’s a resolution I would have really struggled to keep.