Green apps to save the planet

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This article is published in issue 43 of Vanity Fair on newsstands until October 26, 2021

Concept perhaps obvious, but never banal: we don’t have a planet B, so we must strive to take care of it every day. If states and companies are increasingly attentive to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and promoting environmental protection policies, our contribution remains essential. “I think having Earth and not ruining it is the most beautiful art form you could ever want,” said Andy Warhol. It’s up to us to make a difference. A great help can come from a few, simple daily gestures, favored by technology and in particular by an object we cannot give up: the smartphone. The applications that favor virtuous behavior are truly endless and work on the importance of sustainable habits. Here a clever mix, between goodies and apps for dummies.

A matter of fingerprints

It offers a precious support to understand the impact – too often underestimated – of our daily life AWorld, which bears the signature of an Italian start-up and is promoted by the United Nations in support of the ActNow campaign. Thanks to this app it is possible to find out which actions can concretely help in the fight against the climate crisis. In fact, each of our activities is measured in terms of saving water, CO2, energy or waste. Equally useful is the web application Omni Calculator, which provides users with various tools to calculate the CO2 footprint we produce without realizing it. For example: reading two books a month on the iPad generates 115 kilograms of carbon dioxide, while good old paper pages produce zero emissions.

Small big, good practices

Our contribution is precious every day. Starting with the attention to separate collection. Junker indicates how every single product should be recycled, from food packaging to car oil. Just scan the product barcode with your smartphone – or take a photograph – and take advantage of the archive of over 1.6 million references already entered. Never underestimate the power of sustainable mobility: MoveCoin allows you to accumulate digital coins every time we decide to move on foot or by bike. Each path in ecological mode generates an income that can be spent on purchases on affiliated sites. Variation on the theme: Urbi, a very useful resource for managing the main shared mobility alternatives, a quick glance at the phone screen to identify the options made available by sharing companies (bikes, scooters, cars). In big cities it is easier to see how many alternatives we have at hand to leave the car in the garage. The most reliable remains BlaBlaCar, which allows you to share a car trip with other users going in the same direction.

To be eco you then need to save electricity: you can start from the basics by optimizing the smartphone battery. This is precisely the task of Kaspersky Battery Life, which identifies the applications that consume the most to stop them when they are not needed. For Android devices it is free.

Small daily gestures are also suggested by Drinking fountains of Italy: instead of buying bottles of water when you are out and about, why not drink directly from the public fountains, perhaps filling your own water bottle? The app counts over 43,000 of them throughout the country, and each user can increase the list with further reports.

To be green you also need to tidy up your wardrobe: Greenchic it is the right platform to sell the items we no longer wear; clothes, but also shoes, bags and accessories, allow you to accumulate “stars” which then become credit to buy other clothes. Why Greenchic and not others? Because it does it all: collect, select, catalog, photograph and publish online.

Ok, shopping is sustainable

With this in mind, there are many other apps that aim to generate a virtuous circle, on the one hand by promoting recycling and avoiding waste, on the other by offering products with competitive costs. It is convenient, for example, it offers an e-commerce dedicated to products related to health and cosmetics; the team undertakes to purchase damaged or tightly expired packages and sell them at discounts of 20 to 50 percent. Reminder: to promote the circular economy there are also large online platforms such as eBay and Subito, sites that can also be used through the apps on the phone that allow you to really sell everything: from cars to used smartphones, from furniture to collectible magazines. Throwing an eye into the basement, mezzanine or drawers could be an opportunity for a little extra income that’s good for the mood and the planet.

The app is also worth downloading Good on You, which does not sell anything directly, but makes the consumer more and more aware. The goal, in fact, is to draw up a ranking of the most sustainable companies, especially in the fashion field, assigning a score from zero to five. Currently the database includes thousands of brands, but by the end of the year the creators would like to reach the 10 thousand brands surveyed and evaluated.

In the kitchen without waste

Every year in Italy the tons of wasted and thrown food reach almost two million, for a total value of 6.5 billion euros. Although the trend has been improving in recent times, we can certainly do more. The right app is called Empty fridge and the name says it all: use only the ingredients left in the refrigerator to help us put a noteworthy dinner on the table. Sometimes it is not an easy task, but thanks to the more than 25 thousand recipes made available by the application it becomes easier. The next step is to become authentic waste warrior, warriors against waste, using Too Good To Go, the largest platform in the world designed to prevent food from ending up in the trash. Founded in Denmark in 2015, it allows restaurateurs and traders to offer Magic Boxes every day, packages prepared with a surprise selection of fresh products and dishes, left unsold at the end of the day and which cannot be put back on the counter the next day. A very similar approach is that of Phenix: recently arrived in Italy, it can already rely on over 2.5 million active users in Europe.

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