World Clean-Up Day falls annually on the third Saturday of September and coincides with Peace Day. That means we have 10 days to consider how we as individuals or through the organisations we work in, can start living more environmentally-conscious lives and, as usual, technology has the answers!

We at whatCharity.com have compiled a list of digital innovations which can help kickstart your sustainability efforts, ahead of next Saturday. In doing your bit you will be part of a global movement of people trying to live more in line with natures whims, and in the process, you’ll also save money, meet new people and learn new skills. 

From redistributing clothes and food, to encouraging lifestyle changes which have a powerful long-term effect and for those on the go, to those who sit at desks, there is something for everyone in the wonderful world of technology, to help mother nature help you. 

1. Olio

The idea for Olio was conceived in 2014 by co-founder Tessa. In a house-moving frenzy, she realised her fridge was full of good food which wasn’t welcome in the removal van but didn’t want the food to go to waste.

Little did she know, this moment of frustration would be the beginning of what is now Olio, a food-sharing app which has saved over 335 million litres of water since its launch. The app is available worldwide and reached 70,000 individual listings this summer. 

digital innovations

The app works by individual users posting pictures of food they are looking to give away. These will appear on a feed visible to nearby users, who can then choose to visit the location and pick it up. For businesses with leftover produce, volunteers on the app can offer to visit the location and redistribute the food, in exchange for being able to keep some for themselves.  

Simon at Olio, reports multiple benefits of the app. Obviously, there is the re-using of food that would be otherwise wasted but also, excessive Co2 emissions that would come from the wasted food decomposing are avoided. The app strengthens community ties as people and neighbours interact through the exchange of food, as well as educating its users on their ecological influence because it calculates the impact of each transaction, for example how much water and Co2 has been saved. 

The average British family throws away £700 worth of food each year which adds up to £12.5 billion worth of food, ending up in landfill. Olio, however, have successfully redistributed 242076 portions of food since they began, so get sharing to stop wasting!

P.S. Olio is one of many food recycling apps out there-there is also TooGoodToGo, Karma and many more. 

2. Fareshare Go

Fareshare is the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste. They redistribute surplus food (largely from supermarkets) to frontline charity and community groups across the UK. Last year, 20,838 tonnes of food was redistributed to10,943 beneficiaries, including homeless hostels, children’s breakfast clubs, lunch clubs for older people, domestic violence refuges and community cafés. 

digital innovations

The Go service operates online or via an app and is specifically for the use of charities. The mechanism matches users with a local cooperating food store, who will then send a notification on a chosen donation collection day. Someone must then go into the store to claim the food. 

Any charities are eligible if they have the means to receive, store, prepare and serve food safely-a member of the Fareshare Go team will visit before-hand to ensure the organisation meets the relevant criteria and then you’re good to (fareshare) go! 

3. reGAIN

Launched in 2018, this app markets itself as a key player in a ‘recycling revolution’ where never before has textile recycling been so easy. In 2019, it won the Edie Sustainability Leaders Award. They are in the process of expanding globally, but at the moment the app is only UK-based. 

The app is free to download and use. Users must pack a minimum of 10 unwanted pieces of clothing into a package, find the nearest drop-off point (as displayed on the app) and then post their package for free. They then get unlimited access to all coupons for 10 days; partnered brands include Superdry, Boohoo, New Balance, Misguided and more. 

digital innovations

Founder of reGAIN, Jack Ostrowski has commented: “While it might seem that reGAIN is incentivising people to buy more, we have to be realistic. I don’t believe we can stop people from buying new clothes. But I do believe that it is possible to encourage people to behave more sustainably with the items they no longer want.”

By recycling unwanted garments and diverting them from wastage in landfills, reGAIN hopes to bring society one step closer to achieving a circular fashion economy.

4. JouleBug

JouleBug is a global app which is free, although there is the option of a paid membership for JouleBug Communities (for businesses, organisations, schools) which grants users with numerous exclusive features. 

JouleBug hopes to encourage more sustainable lifestyles through small behavioural changes. Listed actions are divided into waste/energy/transportation and water. Examples of acts include composting, shorter showers and reusable cup, which users ‘Buzz’ if completed, from which they receive points. A computer game with an ecological conscience! The app offers fun competition with your friends, savings of around $200 (~£160), peace of mind in doing your bit for the world but also, with JuleBug ‘Shine’, the opportunity to engage in exciting challenges with colleagues. 

digital innovations

Shine is available to organisations, uniting employees in joint environmental efforts, for example relating to smart travel, wellbeing, diet or waste. This provides numerous possibilities for team-building, where challenges can correspond with events and prize-giving. Users can input the company’s brand and values to ensure the sustainability efforts are specifically tailored to the organisation’s purpose. Analytics demonstrating how these habitual alterations have made life easier for mother earth, can be accessed and used for good publicity. 

Erica Kose, HR Manager at KPIT commented that “Shine’s Challenge brought our employees together, enabling interaction between areas that never interact with each other otherwise”.

5. BlaBla car

This is a free car-pooling website and app which connects lonely drivers with hopeful passengers – a less official Uber, usually reserved for longer-haul trips. It is available in 22 countries, including the UK, India and most of Europe. 

Users must either advertise a trip (pick up/drop off location and suggested price) or search for a lift. The platform saves money for all parties, saves emissions by filling empty car seats and also provides an opportunity for meeting new people. There is actually a delightful BlaBlah blog where people have shared their experiences of shared journeys with strangers here: https://blog.blablacar.co.uk/blablalife/blablastories/member-testimonials

digital innovations

Users have profiles detailing information about them and reviews from past lift-sharers, in case you are embarking on a significant road trip and worried you might find yourself in a confined space with a chalk to your cheese. 

Carpooling enables the transport of two times the number of passengers in cars, whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 26% which in 2018 totalled a spared 1.6 million tonnes. The company have calculated that of their 1 million plus members, 70% travel to see their loved ones-make of that what you will.

FacebookTwitterLinkedIn