This is the second blog in our series “Apps to activate your sustainable lifestyle”. In the first blog, we looked at how digital tools such as applications have a decisive advantage when it comes to informing and motivating us in our day-to-day lives and help us make smart and sustainable decisions. On the basis of the Anatomy of Action – a handy action set for daily sustainable living – we explored which apps help us change our relationship to food for the better. In this blog, we dive into the second Anatomy of Action sustainability hotspot – the stuff we buy.
Moving towards a circular economy, we need to meet our needs better with less stuff. This means considering what we really need and reflecting on products’ impact on people and the environment before we buy them. Factors that should affect our consumption decisions include durability, sustainability and options for re-use and recycling. If you are in need of a new product, consider buying second-hand, or better, sharing or swapping things you need.
Nebenan: Building genuine neighbourhood connections
While not limited to a sharing platform only, Nebenan is a well-established online platform by Good Hood GmbH that connects neighbours in cities. Operating across Europe, the social network strengthens social cohesion within local communities with an easy-to-use and transparent digital tool. An app-integrated market place option offers the possibility to share and exchange goods, while the communication dashboard allows for people to ask neighbours for sharing and renting services in their immediate communities.
Following fast food, the term fast fashion has emerged to describe our current global textile industry based on economic practices highly damaging to people and the environment. Representing the most environmentally damaging industry after oil, and impacting everyone on the planet, the fashion industry is in dire need of change. A transition away from mass producing at the cost of environmental and social justice and moving towards circular practices has begun. As consumers, we can help drive this transition forward by buying only what we really need, choosing more sustainable fashion options and asking brands about their commitment to environmental and social sustainability.
Good On You – If it’s good on people and the planet, it’s good on you
“There are some skeletons in the closet that can’t be hidden”, say the app producers, who founded Good On You after the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh in 2013. Advanced to become one of the leading sources for fashion brand ratings, Good On You equips consumers with extensive information and expert analysis around the sustainability of fashion brands. With this knowledge, they aim to allow consumers to use their power to make informed decisions when buying clothes.
Plastics and single-use products still dominate our daily lives, even though their hazardous consequences for the environment are very clear. As consumers, we have the power to transition to a zero-waste life, ditching disposable products where we can and choosing reusable options instead. This starts with micro actions such as carrying your own beverage containers and bringing your own shopping bags and containers. Another important step is to use your consumer power to directly voice the change you want to see in terms of reducing disposability and moving towards reusability.
ReplacePlastic: Building direct communication between consumers and producers
A barcode scanner integrated in the ReplacePlastic app allows you to scan consumer products and send producers a direct request for reducing the product’s plastic packaging. Once a product has received 20 such requests from consumers, ReplacePlastic sends out a collective e-mail to the producer. The app is great to use for anyone who – in just a few simple steps – wishes to show producers that there is a target market out there that is calling for a different approach to plastics.
So, in essence, swap stuff rather than buy new, know your chosen brands’ commitment and speak up about the unnecessary use of plastics – vote with your feet as well as apps.
Our next blog in this series will explore smart sustainability apps that help us rethink the ways we move around.
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