This will be the first post in a series of app recommendations to help you help the planet from your humble home screen. Read this post for a whistle-stop tour of apps with different functionalities that can all assist us in aiming for no-waste nirvana🧘🏻♂️.
Since its inception in Copenhagen in 2015, this popular app combating food waste has steadily been increasing in popularity in the areas it covers (Europe and North America), particularly in the UK. It is based on a business-to-consumer (B2C) model; cafés, restaurants, and convenience/grocery stores put together so-called ‘Magic Bags’ of assorted surplus items needing to be consumed that day that are then advertised on the app at a discounted price. Users can search for Magic Bags in their area and filter them by dietary requirements and the type of meal or produce they require. You can choose a collection time depending on the business’ opening hours. This app is great for those that live in larger cities with places open until late, so keen users have the chance to grab a magic bag before they all go!
Too Good To Go is also a certified B-Corp and they have a great blog with creative ideas for leftovers which is definitely worth a read.
Now for something more international: introducing Olio, the app available worldwide that lets users–either consumers or small local businesses–give away surplus food and other household goods within their area. Items being advertised vary from spare home-grown fruit and vegetables to leftover bake sale goodies, even to the contents of people’s fridges needing emptying before they go on holiday. What’s fantastic about this app is that it’s inherently social, as you arrange to collect the items in person, and it connects you with like-minded people in your area who you might not otherwise meet, facilitating the formation of sustainability groups in your region.
Mainly used in Europe, but currently operating in 225 cities around the world, Karma is another location-based B2C app. It’s yet another app of Scandinavian origin (Karma was founded in Sweden) and has the best sustainability slogan we’ve come across yet:
“Slackers will save the world. You can now save the planet by doing the simplest thing on earth. Eating.”
The app has had enough success to have had a shoutout from Barack Obama and definitely is a competitor of TooGoodToGo. We recommend downloading both apps and taking advantage of all the best deals in your area!
This is one you might not have come across yet if you’re outside the UK. Kitche has a slightly different take on avoiding food waste; it helps the consumer avoid over-purchasing in the first place. It started out as a receipt and barcode scanner and among its founders is the Head of Device Sustainability (Android) at Google, Alex Vlassoupoulos.
The key function of the app is to create an inventory of the items you currently have in your fridge, freezer, and cupboards, meaning you don’t have to worry about accidentally doubling up on items you don’t need during the weekly shop. The recipe suggestion function is a bonus and gives the user lots of inspiration for using up leftovers! https://kitche.co/
Next up is a recent discovery of mine that our readers in German-speaking territories might be interested in. Foodsharing currently has 200,000 users in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other nearby countries. Whilst not as well known as other sustainability solutions on this list –the app is still in beta, available to test on the Google Play Store– it’s worth a mention because its premise is beautifully simple. Users register on the app and can view pick-up and drop-off points in their area for food that would otherwise go to waste. It is managed by a not-for-profit organisation, and the website really highlights the importance of the community in fighting food waste. There is only a German-language version at the moment, but let’s hope it gets the support it needs to be translated and expand worldwide!
Another receipt scanner app that’s worth a try is Nosh. The app is available worldwide, but selected features are location-specific. Nosh was conceived by PhD Computer Science Student Somdip Dey during his Masters’ studies at the University of Manchester when he was living off others’ discarded (but still perfectly edible) food, saving money to cover his parents’ medical bills after a terrible car accident. The app uses AI to analyse people’s consumption and waste habits through their receipts and reporting, and reminds users to consume food that is close to its ‘use-by’ date. The inventory created through scanning receipts integrates with a search for existing recipes online using ingredients you already have. We reckon the shopping planner powered by AI is an incredible way of simplifying the problem of food waste by eradicating overconsumption at the source. https://nosh.tech/#about
YoRipe is one for our readers in Southeast Asia; this app uses the power of crowdsourcing for registered users to promote the best deals in their area for food nearing its sell-by date, as well offering a platform similar to Olio’s for people to share their food surplus within the community. It started off as a simple food management app, just like Kitche, but the founders realised that building trust between users through a social network first made them feel more comfortable subsequently arranging food collection + drop-off. The app is also home to a wide range of Asian-inspired recipes for leftovers, catering to a wide range of dietary requirements, and people proudly display photos of their creations to inspire others.
This is just an introduction to some free apps currently available in the Google Play Store and/or App Store that can be part of your personal sustainability toolkit. If you have any recommendations for apps available in your area not featured on the list, please do let us know, as we hope this list only continues to grow!