There are apps for everything - but which ones are worth the valuable space on your phone? Here are five green apps that really can make your life better, and help the planet too.
1. Refill - the free water finder
Refill is a brilliantly simple idea to reduce the need for single-use plastic water bottles. You download the app and when you’re out and about you can quickly locate nearby places to refill your bottle with tap water for free. The water stations include cafes, shops, bars, galleries, museums and even banks - many of them displaying Refill stickers in their windows.
Refill was started in Bristol in 2015 by green genius Natalie Fee and has spread across the country, hitting the headlines when London Mayor Sadiq Khan backed a major scheme for the capital. There are now over 1,600 Refill points across the UK - with more being added all the time.
2. Mobike - bike sharing made easy
Lots of us are already familiar with the concept of bike sharing. In London, we’ve got Santander Cycles. Similar schemes exist across the country. Mobike is a Chinese innovation that takes a slightly different approach. There are no fixed docking stations - instead, you can pick up one of the distinctive red bikes from anywhere in your city, scan a QR code to unlock it and leave it wherever you like (as long as it’s legally parked). Payment and location tracking is all done through the app - it’s 50p for 30 minutes’ hire in London, and 69p in Manchester, Oxford and Newcastle.
British-based company YoBike have a very similar scheme in Bristol and Southampton (only the bikes are bright yellow), with plans to expand.
3. BlaBlaCar - city to city carpooling
For more long-distance journeys, carpooling is a great way to save money and CO2 at the same time. The Paris-based company BlaBlaCar has created an amazing service for sharing journeys.
The app connects people who are making a city-to-city car trip with people who want a lift, and helps them share the cost of the journey. It’s available in the UK and throughout Europe. Bon voyage!
4. Too Good to Go - eat well, reduce food waste
Too Good to Go is another really simple, clever idea - this time for making use of good food that would otherwise be chucked into the bin. You simply download the app and search your local area for special deals from restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and other stores before they throw away their food.
The scheme started in Denmark and now has hundreds of stores signed up around the UK, including local eateries and national chains like YO! Sushi. Great for late-evening impulse munching!
5. The Bulb app!
Yes, we have an app! You can use it to submit readings and view your account balance and statements. And you can use it to share your referral link and sign up your friends to 100% renewable electricity. So you can make some money, and help the planet too.