More and more, I’m seeing ethical businesses grow. My latest obsession comes in the form of apps – there’s a lot of power behind a service that’s quite literally in the palm of your hand anytime you want.
Over the last few months, I’ve been trying out different ethical apps that predominantly change the way I shop. This covers shopping for beauty products, clothes, and even meals. Here’s a list of my favourites, detailing the good they do and how they’ll improve your buying habits considerably too.
Got lots of stuff that you don’t use? Want to be more charitable? Buengo is a soon to be launching app that lets you sell your stuff and donate your takings to charitable causes – providing a new way to gain breathing space and support causes without dipping into your pocket. Co-founder Fela Hughes says “Buengo makes supporting good causes while living more ethically as easy as possible. We want people to discover local causes while they’re waiting for the bus, browse items while they sip their morning coffee and post something for sale while they wait for their dinner to cook.” Sounds good to me!
Want to book a restaurant? Why not give to charity while you do so – at no cost to yourself, at all? Charitable Bookings will help you to find a restaurant, book, and donate £1 to charity for every person who attends. I used the app for a recent trip to Bronté, and I only had to confirm with Charitable that my booking had been made. The app has over 7,500 UK charities you can donate to, and it also works for hotel bookings (£1 per person, per night) as well as providing added extras such as recipes and tips.
Available on iOS | Free
In my eyes, Farmdrop is the natural digital progression of a veg box scheme. The app connects people in London, Bath and Brighton with produce from local growers and suppliers, bakeries, butchers, and delis. This direct connection means that while the prices are the same as on the high street, more money goes to the producers’ pockets, rather than supermarkets taking a hefty cut.
Remember when Airbnb seemed so revolutionary? Fat Lama is applying the same concept with physical items, enabling users to borrow stuff when they want, and rent their items out to make income too. The app detects your location, and then links you to available items in your area. Examples of items I’ve seen on there: camera equipment, skis, guitars, bikes, a camper van…
Available on iOS | Free
So, you know which ethical fashion brands you want to shop from. You might not need ratings, or information; you want to shop. The Faer app is for you, displaying clothes uniquely from fair fashion labels that match your searching. They also take advantage of the power of your phone, enabling voice searching and image searching via screenshots.
The Lablaco GIVE app is the first app to connect users geographically who are looking to give away their clothes. The app feels kind of like a clothes swap you’d have at university, or with a group of friends, but instead these are your neighbours. While it’s a great concept, I am a little off-put by the fact that it has a sister app, Lablaco SHOP, which undoes the idea of stopping fashion waste, and my god you have to give the app a lot of personal information before you sign up.
Good On You
As someone who delved into ethical fashion head first a few years ago, I would have sure been happy to find the Good On You app! You can use the app to check your favourite brands to see their ethics rating, and also discover the cream of the crop when it comes to ethical producers, as well as see their offers and discounts using the app. Pretty clever.
I first came across the Environmental Working Group (EWG) when I was searching up beauty product ingredients (yes, I used to look up almost everything in all my products… I’ve now made that more efficient by avoiding these 25 harmful beauty ingredients). Their Skin Deep database is brilliant when it comes to rating individual ingredients, as well as products and brands. This has now been expanded into the EWG Healthy Living app that not only covers beauty, but also food too.
Not My Style
Available on iOS | Free
I’ve been a fan of Not My Style for a long while now; theirs is a clever app that rates fashion brands by the information they provide on the workers who make their clothing. It’s quite simple – the more transparency a brand provides, the better the rating. For users located in London, they can also use the app on the go, with ratings across the city and a map function that tracks you as you shop. And the final stroke of genius: the app enables you to also send templated messages on Twitter or Facebook to the brands who don’t get a great rating, asking them why. #WhoMadeMyClothes at the click of a button!
Want to reduce food waste? Olio is the perfect app for you, whether you’re looking to make use of someone’s leftovers, or help a local shop to put their surplus stock to good use. Just like that sticky note you’d put on your fridge for your flatmates, you can advertise any food going spare in your pantry, and have someone pick it up from your house. Nice!
Too Good To Go
If shopping in someone’s else’s pantry isn’t your thing, but you wouldn’t mind helping your local takeaway reduce its food waste (I mean, hello, cheap Chinese food anyone?), Too Good To Go is the app you should download. As a Londoner, I’m surrounded by options any time of the day, and I can pay a set fee to the restaurant or café in question to receive a box full of food.
What’s In It?
Available on Chrome
I wanted to give an honourable mention to What’s In It, a browser extension that’s currently crowdfunding (until today, please support them!) that will help you make great nutritional swaps for items you usually buy. For example, instead of a jar of Nutella, they would recommend JimJams Spreads, a healthier alternative that comes in a recyclable glass jar too.
Photo credit: STIL