Which eco-living apps can help you live sustainably?

Apps can be a great tool to help you make better choices for the planet. While we know there isn’t one single piece of tech that will transform long-term behaviour change, great apps make greener living easier. 

From learning about your carbon footprint, which products are in season, reducing food waste, planting trees, and picking up a second-hand bargain, there is an app for (nearly) everything.

At Giki HQ, we’re celebrating the impact we’ve made collectively, but we know there’s so much more we can do to achieve urgent, system-wide transformation in time to limit global temperature rises. Apps are a great way to learn more about how you can help the planet and take more climate action

So, we’ve put together Giki’s favourite eco-living apps to help us all make the changes we need to help limit the worsening effects of climate change:

Giki Zero – The best app to learn what you can do for the planet and find out your personal carbon footprint. 

Image showing two app visuals side by side on a light blue background

OK, a bit biased, but as a mission-led B Corp and social enterprise, we build things for all the right reasons – to help you learn about your carbon footprint and take steps to cut carbon. 

There are some great reasons to download Giki Zero: 

  • 150+ steps to help you take climate action. There’s something for every lifestyle and budget.
  • See the impact of the steps you take on your carbon footprint and Giki score.
  • Stay on track with push notifications, handy to-do lists, and new steps!
  • Quickly and easily access more in-depth personal carbon footprint insights through the web app.
  • As a company, you can engage and educate your mobile workforce on sustainability.

“Wow, I just created my account – what an amazing app. Educational, fun, and thought-provoking. This is the way to go… Try it!”

Current Apple Store rating: 5* 

The National Grid ESO App – the best app for understanding available renewables. 

Map of the UK

One for the Super Greens out there, the National Grid ESO App is an application that lets you track the carbon intensity on the national grid, which could help you decide how much energy to use in line with how much renewables are currently available. Note this app is only available on Android devices, but you can also use websites like Energy Dashboard or National Grid live on your browser.

On sunny, windy days, electricity can be 50% greener than at other times, so definitely worth keeping a lookout.

Great app, very interesting, and lots of info placed into very neat looking graphs! A must for any environmental people out there.”

Current Google Play rating: 3.4* 

Too Good to Go – the best app for finding a great dinner and fighting food waste.

To good to go visual

Connecting you to food retailers with leftovers at the end of a day’s trading is a great idea that helps everyone. Citizens can pick up great meal deals, and food retailers can reduce waste from surplus food. It’s a win-win situation that is particularly popular with students, families, and busy professionals picking something tasty at the end of the day. 

With food waste contributing 6% of all greenhouse gases, everything we can do to cut back is a step in the right direction.

“Food waste is one of the great challenges of our time, Too Good to Go is one way to contribute to a solution. The app provides an overview of shops and restaurants in your area with surplus food. Those outlets put together a surprise bag at a lower price and you can order it right within the app. This way you can protect the environment and discover new places at the same time.” 

Current Apple Store rating: 4.9* 

Olio – the best app for sharing and buying nothing new. 

Olio visual

Olio helps you share more and buy less by connecting you to your neighbours who want to give away (or lend) things they are no longer using. You can also pick up unwanted food or close to sell-by-dates and help reduce food waste. From food to clothes, you’ll probably find this as addictive as us, and a neat rewards module that celebrates how much carbon each swap saves. 

Olio helps find a home for unwanted edibles, using local postings that are a snap to create or browse. Whether a nearby farm is getting rid of excess rhubarb (it makes great pies, honest) or we’re going on holiday and want the chorizo meatballs in our fridge to end up on a neighbour’s plate instead of in the trash, Olio is a feel-good way to reduce food waste.” 

Current Apple Store rating: 4.9* 

Impact Score – the best app for finding sustainable products when shopping. 

Impact score visual

We all want to ‘buy better’ for the planet, but it can be confusing to understand the true impact of the products you buy. Impact Score helps you buy from brands that share your beliefs and is easy to use, with a barcode scanner providing easy-to-digest info and environment rating on your phone. 

Particularly useful, is the ability to check whether a product contains palm oil and whether it’s sustainable. With over 50% of cakes, biscuits, and snacks containing palm oil, it’s important to know because unsustainable palm oil threatens rainforests and animals like the Orangutan.

It is excellent for making better and more sustainable choices for food, cleaning products, cosmetics, and toiletries. I love how it suggests better options, and I can’t believe the ratings of some of my products at home!”

Current Apple Store rating: 4.6* 

Merlin Bird ID – the best app for connecting with nature and bird watching. 

Merlin bird visual

At Giki, we LOVE getting out in nature. Listening to bird songs is a way to reconnect with what’s important, be mindful, and enjoy nature. But do you know your robins from your warblers? That’s where Merlin Bird ID comes in. 

Built by Cornell University, this app identifies the birds you hear. It’s a seriously good bit of tech!

This is a fantastic app. I would go as far as to say one of the best I’ve used to date. Not only does it give you real-time ID whilst the birds are singing it broadens your ID as it makes you more aware of the birds around you. It is also possible to record the songs and play them back.”

Current Apple Store rating: 4.8*

Vinted – the best app for buying clothes. 

Vinted visual

Buying second-hand and nearly new clothing has never been easier, with apps and retailers offering several options, but our favourite is Vinted. Vinted is our top tip for leaving fast fashion behind.

Vinted connects a diverse community of sellers to eco-minded buyers looking for a fashion bargain and is quickly becoming one of the most popular shopping apps in the world. With many people buying over 35 items of clothing every year, it’s a great way to cut back on carbon and save money too.

Personally, I love Vinted, It’s a good way to just get rid of things you no longer want and earn a lil extra money!” 

Current Apple Store rating: 4.9* 

Google Maps – the best for travelling more sustainably. 

Google maps visual

OK, bear with us on this one… Travelling by car is one of the most carbon-intensive choices we can make daily, but Google Maps helps in several ways and is one of the most popular and downloaded apps of all time, so even if you’ve just started living more sustainably, you’ve probably got Google Maps already! 

Google Maps can help you make better choices by showing alternative transport times, and journey routes and help encourage you to take public transport, walk, or cycle by showing how easy it can be to leave the car at home. If driving is your only (or preferred) option, then you can even search for the best route that is the most energy efficient. On some trips, you can save over 75% of the carbon footprint through better choices.

Overall, Google Maps is an amazing application to have. Without it, I can’t survive and I feel everyone needs this nowadays.”

Current Apple Store rating: 4.7*

So, there you have it, if you want to use your smartphone to learn to live more sustainably, then these are Giki’s favourite eco-living apps. Have we missed one? Let us know on LinkedIn or Twitter, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ThinkCarbon. 

You can download Giki Zero from the App Store or Google Play.