8 sustainable living apps you’ll wonder how you lived without


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From finding nearby water bottle refill stations, to calculating your carbon footprint, to connecting with surplus food headed for the landfill, these apps help you live more sustainably. 


Have you ever spent the better part of an outing wandering around, looking for somewhere to fill up your reusable water bottle? Or spent money on a plastic bottle when all you really wanted was a quick sip from a water fountain? Cue Tap: the app that makes it easier to find free water sources, thereby eliminating the need for single-use water bottles! Tap directs users to restaurants, cafes, refill stations and water fountains across 7,100 cities in 30 countries. Users leave reviews about the specifics of the location, making it easy to find a tap anywhere you are. 

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Happy Cow

A favorite restaurant resource for plant-based eaters, Happy Cow is the perfect way to find vegan and vegetarian dining options. Whether visiting a new place or looking for options in your own city, Happy Cow connects users with 180,000 restaurants, cafes and grocery stores that cater to healthy, vegetarian and/or vegan eating. Users can report back on the app and let others know whether vegan/vegetarian options are extensive or limited, whether you can ask for substitutions, and whether there have been recent changes to the menu. Results can also be filtered by type of establishment (bakery, restaurant, grocery store, etc.), or to show only 100% vegan locations. Happy Cow gives each result a score based on plant-friendliness, too. 

Think Dirty

Decode the unintelligible list of toxic ingredients on the back of 350,000+ cleaning and personal care products with Think Dirty. Simply scan the product’s barcode and the app will generate a “dirty meter” based on its ingredients. Read explanations of each ingredient and why it’s considered “dirty,” and make an informed choice about whether or to purchase the product based on Think Dirty’s 0-10 safety rating. The best part: it’s free! 


Looking for a bedframe? Produce? Hair rollers? A sled? Olio is fighting against the 33 to 50% of all globally produced food that goes uneaten every year by connecting users with unwanted food (and pretty much anything else, too). Browse the app for items listed nearby, filtering for food or non-food items, or check out the “wanted” listings to see if you can hand off something you don’t want to someone who does. It’s an especially good resource in the weeks leading up to a big move; quickly post photos of things you’re looking to offload, and let the app do the work!

Giki Zero

This carbon-calculating app asks you a few basic questions — the country and state you live in, whether you drive a car, what type of house you live in, your diet, etc. — and then determines how many kilograms of carbon you use each year. Input more specific information for each sector — such as water and electricity use under Home, and pet food and food waste under Food — for a more accurate report, and to see the percentage each sector accounts for within your overall carbon footprint. Giki will suggest steps that can lower your footprint within each sector (insulating your home, recycling a higher percentage of waste, choosing products that don’t include palm oil, etc.). See the impact that each step has on your footprint, and track your progress over time to reach your carbon-cutting goals. You can also view your personal climate clock, which calculates how long the world would have before reaching 1.5ºC of warming — which is generally considered the threshold for preventing catastrophic climate impacts — if everyone used as much carbon as you. Keep yourself accountable to cutting your footprint and completing new steps with the app’s “to-do list” function. 

Too Good to Go

Rescue food that’s headed for the trash can at restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops and juice bars with Too Good to Go. Whether you’re looking to cut down on grocery costs, rescue food waste or just find a quick meal, browse participating venues in your neighborhood to reserve a “Surprise Bag.” The bags usually cost only a few dollars — which provides an incentive for businesses to participate — and contain anything from fresh produce, to leftover buffet items from a deli, to expiring groceries, to unused ingredients or pre-made meals from restaurants. Stores give a brief outline of what’s normally in their Surprise Bags, including whether you can expect vegetarian goods. They’ll also provide an appointed pick-up time. 

Good on You

Looking for ethical outfit inspiration? Wondering how sustainable Khloe Kardashian’s new clothing brand is? Good on You gives sustainability ratings to clothing brands for users to consult before making purchases. Their ratings are comprehensive and encompass three main areas: people, planet and animals. So the ratings — Great, Good, It’s A Start, Not Good Enough and We Avoid — take the treatment of workers, environmental impact and animal welfare into account from the extraction of raw materials to the product’s end-of-life impact. If you don’t know where you want to shop, browse their directory to find sustainable brands based on price and clothing item. 


Navigate 11 million bike paths in 100 different countries with Bikemap. For the average person, choosing a bike over a car once a day reduces personal carbon emissions from transport by 67%.

Browse bike routes to the grocery store, school or your workplace, or find paths to explore a new city by bike while traveling. The app shows elevation gain and loss along routes, provides in-app navigation with auditory and visual cues, and automatically reroutes when you’ve taken a wrong turn. See your bike stats over time, and pair with your Apple Watch for convenient navigation.

This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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7 ways to be both frugal & eco-friendly

7 ways to be both frugal & eco-friendly

Being frugal and being eco-conscious often work hand-in-hand. Here are some cheap and affordable ways to be a little more eco-conscious.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. 

The more use we get out of items the more we save money and the more we reduce our footprint on the earth. Less garbage, less energy when getting new items, less waste. All these things go hand-in-hand.

Doing my part to reduce consumption

 I am not what you would call a super eco-friendly person. For example, I do use a lot of plastic dishes and silverware, even though it something that I try to cut down on. Going zero-waste or plastic-free is not really in the cards right now but it is something I can aspire to at one point! Of course, being able to make choices like that is a privilege in of itself.  I do try to do my part to save the earth and save money at the same time.

Here are seven ways to be frugal and eco-friendly.


Cheap, easy, and sustainable. I have an old milk crate (I honestly have no clue where I got it from- possibly from my husband’s previous job) that I fill with all the old papers, leaflets, boxes, etc. that we receive. Plastic packaging, things that we get in the mail, toilet paper rolls, all get dumped into the box. I have also put in some crayons, markers, tape, glue, and safety scissors. My child can sit and play with it for hours. I am always throwing in new materials so there is something new to play with. My kids can sit and create tons of stuff from all the “junk” in there. They rarely get new, white paper to color with. If I have to print out papers for something- the extras and mess-ups get put in as well. Think school notices, old worksheets, etc. all of them have nice clear backs for the kids to color and stick stickers on. The papers from the stickers get colored on or cut when the stickers are gone as well. While a lot of these will still end up in the trash eventually it still gives us a whole entirely new use to it.

NataliaDeriabina / istockphoto

Speaking of crafts, are my kids the only ones who destroy crayons constantly? Every so often I go through eh crayons and collect all the small and broken pieces. These get saved until we have a nice amount. We then put them into muffin tins (I actually have some silicon muffin cups) and melt them to create new crayons. It gives them a new life and is an exciting activity as well. Even when things seem to have finished their usefulness there is still something you can do with them!

lyingv43 / istockphoto

 I save my kid’s clothes and try to use them as hand me downs as much as possible. Even if you are very particular about dressing your kids nicely or following strict gender norms out of the house there is no reason why pajamas or play clothes can’t be the “wrong color” or a little faded or out of date. Many of the clothes actually remain in great condition so they are perfectly able to be used from kid to kid. White shirts are particularly able to be passed down as they are easy to bleach and keep clean.

airspa / istockphoto

Speaking of clothes lasting, I try as much as possible not to use a dryer. I hang all my clothes. (I do dry towels, socks, and underwear). This reduces the number of dryer loads I have to do (save on electricity) and the clothes last much longer when hung to dry rather than put in the dryer. Light clothing, in particular, stays shinier and fresh when hung to dry in the sun. Of course, in winter when there is minimal sun this does force us to be more on top of the laundry so that things dry in time for when we need them.


Clothes that are beyond repair, ripped or otherwise dead get cut up into rags. I have a drawer full of rags of various sizes and materials. I can cut my paper towel supply significantly using the rags I have in my house. Old undershirts and pajamas work particularly well for this, as do kids’ T-shirts.

zimindmitry / istockphoto

As I said, I do buy stuff in plastic. Since many spices and other items come in plastic jars I try to reuse them as much as possible. I use them for other food or for toys or to organize the junk drawer. If I can’t find a good use for them I give them to my kids to play with. They can play kitchen or use them for dirt or for water pouring activities. I also sometimes give them old shampoo bottles to use as bath toys.


I wrote about this before but it’s worth re-mentioning. I take fruits and vegetables that are going bad and put them in the freezer for smoothies, pies, or stock. If you save vegetable scraps, like peels or tops and bottoms of vegetables, you can combine it with chicken bones and scraps to make a delicious chicken stock to be used as a base for chicken soup or for other chicken recipes.

luigi giordano / istockphoto

When you live a life of frugality and are intentional with your items and your material needs, then I think you are naturally going to be eco-friendly. I also think that it is OK to do these things just to save money.

There are so many things that naturally frugal people do that are also eco-friendly. Think about things like using reusable water bottles so as not to waste plastic bottles. You may do that because of money but it is also eco-friendly.

This article originally appeared on ADimeSaved.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Prostock-Studio / istockphoto

Featured Image Credit: BartekSzewczyk / istockphoto.