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Three Steps closer to Zero: 3 Apps that can get you closer to carbon-neutrality and zero-waste

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change” (Charles Darwin)

This is a sentence that I resonate with a lot, especially when I mirror it to our modern society and modern consumption behavior. We are all aware of such global issues, and we all want to do our part to bring awareness and be perceived as if we truly cared. We claim that we’re doing a good action by adding a like to a post, sharing a video from an NGO, talk about an article that calls out the need to act. We then turn off our phones, shut down our laptops and not much might have changed. That’s because not everyone is comfortable to change, especially if it isn’t an upgrade (we hardly revert from an iPhone 11 to an iPhone 6S).

Convenience wins 9 times out of 10 (don’t quote me on that statistic) – it’s your habit, it’s time and cost-efficient, and hasn’t impacted YOUR life directly. In a nutshell: we all want to change as the world is changing, but we hardly actually do. Don’t get me wrong, I was just like that until a few months ago. But like every pain point, you find a trigger to get to a solution. It became clear to me that if I wanted to trigger any change in my behavior, it had to start light. What better place than starting where we spend most of our time: on our phones or more specifically Mobile Apps.

If I told you that you could take climate action every day by supporting local efforts in reforestation with a simple search, would you believe me? If I told you that you could help prevent millions of microplastic fibers to be dumped into the arctic by scanning the products you shop, would you take me seriously? If I told you that one App can help you reduce your water and electricity consumption, would you think of me as a scam?

Buckle up, as I am about to reveal how adopting new digital habits has triggered numerous amounts of changes and newly adopted habits in real life.

From Google Chrome to Ecosia

If you’re not super tech or digital savvy, you might be reading this article on your Microsoft Edge browser or Internet Explorer and most certainly have never heard of Ecosia.

Ecosia is a certified B-corp. search engine that plants trees every time you make a search. Yes, it’s that simple (actually, you need to search approximately 45 times before you generate enough funds for one tree to be planted but still, it’s quite simple).

  • How do they generate funds? Ecosia uses 80% of its profits coming from paid search to re-invest into planting trees where the world needs it the most. They work with local communities and self-sustained organizations with the purpose of fighting de-forestation. 45 searches = 1 tree.

  • Can you trust it? They publish their monthly financial reports, and the tree planting receipts are available on their website. Yes, you can trust it.

  • How can you get it? You can either download their App and set Ecosia as your primary search engine in your Settings, or you can download it as an extension to Google Chrome. You might sacrifice a total of 2 minutes of your day by doing so.

  • Why Ecosia? Ecosia is the answer to the first question above. It fights the global issue of deforestation, carbon-neutralizes our search behavior online, and removes the pain point of having to take the matter into our own hands.

Scan for Micro-Plastics

If we see that a product has been labeled as bio or organic, is made out of sustainable material, is 100% recyclable or has green-made labels, we often don’t second-guess it. It was a slap in the face when I discovered how unhealthy some of the products I used to buy were, or how wasteful they ended up being. As I usually make my shopping list on my phone, it was easy to adopt this new app on my phone: CodeCheck.

CodeCheck functions as a shopping advisor for conscious purchases. It helps you find out more about the ingredients used in the product or food you’re about to buy by scanning the bar-code of the product. It’s user-friendly, customizable, and adaptable for Vegan, Palm Oil, Microplastics, Sugars, Lactose & Gluten. It helps your diet, and it helps the planet.

CodeCheck is the answer to our second question above. I chose the Arctic, as I am emotionally attached to the Arctic circle environment. Recently, it has been discovered that it suffers from a great deal of microplastics pollution, coming from the products and clothes we shop. In return, these end up in our food chain (source). By using CodeCheck, I have improved my diet by buying more local and seasonal products, avoid palm oil-rich products (which benefits our rainforests and our global deforestation problem), and reduced my microplastic pollution per capita (for myself and my family).

Gamified action on water & electricity consumption

It might have been unfair to limit this section to water & electricity only, as this App has helped me in more than those two areas. However, when I first downloaded AWorld, it made me aware of how much water & electricity I was consuming. I was shocked (and most likely ashamed of myself).

AWorld is an Italian scale-up that has been selected as the official platform to support the ACTNOW United Nations campaign for individual action on climate change and sustainability. It is a gamified way to become conscious of global issues, rewarding you with points for adopting and completing new habits (such as unplugging the cables from the socket, showering for 5 minutes only, planting trees via Ecosia, and many more…). Every action you take contributes to the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). It truly has revolutionized my way of thinking and my way of acting. If you’re curious, you can join my team in the App: Zero Waste Stories.

This answers the third question above, giving you the right tools to get started. All three Apps together have been my three first steps into a more carbon-neutral and zero-waste mindset. All individually have played a role in helping me adopt a more sustainable lifestyle from various angles.

AWorld alone has truly been my turning point for embarking on this Zero Waste Journey. Hopefully, it will be the same for you.


This article was written by Claudio Corti from Zero Waste Stories.

Claudio Corti is a tech and digital enthusiast working in Mobile Experience for adidas, based in Germany. He has completed a bachelor's degree in International Business Administration, followed by two masters in Business Information Management as well as Creativity & Marketing. He embraces his creativity and passion for digital to advocate sustainability and sports, whilst acting as a part-time activist in the realm of Plogging. He recently launched his new venture Zero Waste Stories.

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