The RESET App Check: Apps That Assist Sustainable Consumption

Over the last few weeks, we have tested apps that promise easy, quick help when it comes to conscious consumption. Here are our results and tips.

Autor*in RESET , 11.07.16

Over the last few weeks, we have tested apps that promise easy, quick help when it comes to conscious consumption. Here are our results and tips.

Think Dirty allows you to check what’s really in your cosmetics. EcoGator provides insight into energy-efficient household appliances. The web plugin aVOID helps you buy clothing that has not been made using child labour. These are just a few of the apps that can help you lead a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle. But how helpful, user-friendly and transparent are they really? The RESET editorial team put a few of the most well-known apps to the test.

We found that many of the apps we tested didn’t meet our criteria, either partially or at all. As a result, our conclusion is somewhat of a mixed bag. Often, the apps were not completely up to date or were filled with useful content that wasn’t adapted to display on a smartphone. Others were not transparent enough or their product catalogue came up short.

A quick disclaimer: it must be stated that a lot of the English-language apps tested were more suited to very specific markets (USA, Canada, UK), meaning that they understandably might not be so applicable for use outside of these areas (the team was based in Germany and Brazil at the time of testing).

So Many Apps – but Do They Live Up to the Hype?

We were delighted to discover so many apps in the green lifestyle area. It became evident that a lot of apps have room for improvement but there are still a few we recommend using,” RESET’s editor in chief, Sarah-Indra Jungblut, states.

From our point of view, apps have a decisive advantage when it comes to motivating and informing users. Many of us know about climate and environmental problems that are caused by our consumption rates and patterns. Despite this, it’s hard to make changes and determine and verify our knowledge and actions in this regard. Where does this come from? “This relates to behavioural psychology,“ Boris Demrovski from CO2Online told us via interview. “If, over a long period of time, I become used to a certain behaviour and doing things a certain way, it is really hard to change this behaviour – even if I know that it is not really right.

This is where apps make the most sense; one the one hand, they provide quick and easy access to a lot of helpful information, on the other hand, they can use interactive features or gamification elements to demonstrate and encourage other behavioural options in order to help amend our habits long-term. This is where these handy pocket helpers offer the most potential.

Beyond this, it is expected that, in the next few years, there will be lots going on in the field of sustainability apps. “Barcode scan apps in particular significantly encourage sustainable lifestyles and conscious consumption. In our view, this is where the biggest potential lies,” says Uta Mühleis, founder and managing director of RESET.

Our Suggestions for Sustainability Apps

You want to get rid of your old fridge but don’t want to get a new energy guzzler? The app EcoGator could help you make the right choice.

What to do against child labour in the fashion industry? The plugin aVOID filters your online shopping so that you can “avoid” buying items of clothing that have been produced under exploitative conditions.

Think Dirty is an easy-to-use, sleek app that helps users find out about the ingredients in their cosmetics (with regards to hormonal impact, allergies and more) and provides lists of alternative products with safer ingredients.

The Good Fish Guide is a useful app to have with you in the supermarket. It provides helpful information about fish stock sustainability and gives users insight into which seafood is best to buy.

These are the four apps that really convinced us with their functionality, currency and transparency. This does not mean, however, that the other apps we tried weren’t helpful in some way. You can find an overview and our results here: The RESET App Check: Shopping Responsibly with the Right Apps.

Hungry? The MealSaver App Will Feed You, Save You Money and Help Reduce Food Waste. You Are Welcome.

It's late in the evening, you've been out all day. You're hungry, tired, and have no idea what's in your fridge. Sound familiar? The app MealSaver can help you scoop up lovely restaurant food wherever you may be in Berlin, save yourself some hard-earned cash and be part of a growing movement to combat food waste.

The RESET App Check: a Complete A – Z of Sustainable, Fair Products with Ethical Barcode?

Finding out a product’s or manufacturer’s track record on sustainability, climate change, fair labour and more often means consulting numerous apps and websites; hardly ideal for the time-poor shopper. The Ethical Barcode app looks to aggregate third party data on all these subjects but how effective is it? We put the app to the test.

The RESET App Check: aVOID-ing Child Labour with a Web Plugin

What can consumers do to combat child labour in the fashion industry? The plugin aVOID filters users online shopping trips to help shoppers avoid buying clothing and goods that have been produced under exploitative conditions. We put it to the test. 

The RESET App Check: Think Dirty Helps You Clean Up Your Act

We all use numerous products on a daily basis to be clean, smell good and look our best. However, do we ever think of the health and environmental impacts of the products we use every single day? If you’ve ever taken a look at the ingredient list of a typical beauty product, it probably seemed too daunting to research every single ingredient. The good news: you don’t have to.

The RESET App Check: Finding Energy-saving Appliances with EcoGator

Are you looking to get rid of your old refrigerator but want to avoid buying a new one that guzzles energy? EcoGator might be able to help your decision-making process. We took the app for a spin.

The RESET App Check: Buycott Aims to Uncover Brands’ Affiliations

Many shoppers probably do not want to their grocery dollars ending up in the pockets of defense companies. But it is not always so easy to see where our consumer coin ends up. The Buycott app aims to lay bare a brand’s affiliations in order to facilitate conscious consumption. But how reliable is this app? We tested it out.

The RESET App Check: Sustainable Seafood at Your Fingertips with the Good Fish Guide

Our appetite for fish is big. According to WWF, two-third's of the world's fish stocks have been exhausted or are overfished. To counter this, a number of organisations actively build awareness about which species of fish are sustainably farmed and which to avoid. We tested out the Good Fish Guide app to see how it helps consumers make sustainable seafood choices.

The RESET App Check: Does GoodGuide Make Green Shopping Easier?

Making ethical and sustainable decisions when we shop can be difficult. You're in the supermarket aisle and reach for a bottle of shampoo, asking yourself, has this product been made under fair labour conditions? Were the ingredients sustainably sourced and could any of them be harmful to health?

The RESET App Check: Shopping Responsibly with the Right Apps

Nowadays, there are a multitude of apps promising to make sustainable shopping easier. But do they really do this? We put some of the most well-known apps to the test.