Nine Up & Coming Apps To Improve Your Community

7 min readSep 16, 2021

And try to work toward a better world however we can

Caution: I hear there are still censorship issues happening concerning the word ‘fuck.’ If you are bothered by this word, do not proceed. I have, again, inserted it into an article that did not originally contain it, just for you.

Photo by Le Buzz on Unsplash

First, repeat after me—

–There is no ethical consumption under the guise of capitalism–

This RedBull I’m drinking? Totally unethical. It required fossil fuels to get that can from the aluminum sheeting manufacturing facility, to can production, to a filling station, and eventually to the store where I purchased it—instead of having a local manufacturer or grocer create the equivalent nearby by using a soda syrup, refillable bottle and a carbon dioxide tank.

This blanket from Target draped across my lap while I’m typing? Totally unethical. It was woven using a program someone designed and inserted into a knitting machine somewhere in China that then used synthetic materials, that are releasing microplastics into the environment every time I wash it, to produce a faux cashmere blanket at the low price of $20 USD and the high price of our planet. And those knitting machines are probably run by children being paid less than a living wage. Instead of purchasing an item like this new, anyone could instead go to a second hand store and purchase a new with tags blanket someone else didn’t want and launder it, or I could purchase a beautiful blanket from a local artisan, or work on a project with a friend to make one. Buying newly manufactured objects from overseas opens up a lot of questions regarding their production and manufacturing process. We also need to consider the rights of workers locally and the conditions they’re currently facing. Are you making ethical decisions? Are you teaching your children to ask the big questions, to think about how their small choices and little actions impact global supply chains? Unless you’d rather not ask yourself those questions in order to sleep at night.

I see so many incredible parents and peers teaching the next generation about supply chains as of this past year. From my friends teaching their daughter about why the meat shortage happened during 2020 to prepare her for it happening again, to another Seattle-ites and neighbor teaching how we are the supply chain for compassion in its purest form.

I read an article on the BBC that said 2021 has seen an unprecedented number of days during which somewhere on the planet has reached temperatures over 50 °C — meaning this is the hottest it’s ever been in the recorded human history of climate data. That’s a long fucking time. All the while, the United States is wasting over 40% of the food we’re producing? We’re sending brand-new items to landfills? We can’t deny what’s happening any longer, for the sake of our survival — the way the supply chains are designed is broken.

So what do we do right now? We’re not helpless.

We all know these things are happening, and we can’t plug our ears and ignore it forever.

We all play our part in this global network — we are all interconnected.

We can all make a difference in surviving and adapting to change. And there are people using technology to do this. There are people working toward those UN Sustainability Goals it often seems like no one in U.S. politics listens to. Let’s look at some new Apps launching onto the market. These help make it easier than ever to help members in our communities survive in present times and do good. Most of these apps focus on a current hot topic: Food Waste. I do also include apps that deal with material goods, addressing other landfill waste.

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash
  1. TooGoodToGo
    Too Good To Go is an anti-food waste app that is part of the anti-food waste movement. With this app you can spend less money and help small businesses in your local area waste less food and sustain themselves financially. Many businesses use sustainable packaging and request you bring your own bag.
    In my personal experience, this is best used at farmers markets for farm shares, fishmongers for seafood shares, bakeries and other small businesses for category specific purchases. This app has helped me with getting out and about and supporting small business while learning a new city. While sometimes their “value” estimates are a bit aspirational, I found that $4.99 for an organic farm share absolutely worth it. Our $20 share from the fishmonger got us over 5 lbs of premium fishes. The additional benefit is that you explore your community, connect, and discover. Check to see if it’s available in your area.
    Get it on iOS
    Get it on Android
  2. BuyNothingApp
    Do you remember the Buy Nothing Movement? You can post anything that can be legally given to another person as a gift in your local area. Their efforts keep usable and restorable items out of landfills and help participants save money every year. We build stronger communities by sharing our resources — what goes to a landfill ends up being wasted. As of September 10, 2021, they released their App! Currently in Beta, if you live in the Seattle area or in select other test regions, you can sign up to be one of their testers.
    I signed up to be a Beta Tester. I’m currently waiting to hear back, though I’m excited to be a part. The Buy Nothing Movement started when two friends, Rebecca Rockefellar and Liesl Clark created and “experimental hyper-local gift economy” in their home of Bainbridge Island in July 2013. I remember first hearing about it while living in either Missoula or San Francisco. Since then, it has expanded to be an international movement.
  3. OLIO
    OLIO is an app for sharing your excess food before it spoils. We’ve all had those last minute changes in plans, or forgotten about something we purchased until right before it turned. OLIO is here to help make sure that food gets eaten instead of ending up in the trash. The way it works is that you get to post food you’re not going to eat on the app and those looking for a particular item (say they need that cup of sugar?) look for what they need. Then, you get to build that connection with your neighbor buy giving them the food you’re not going to use. That food doesn’t end up in a landfill and our community members are fed. The App is available in the United Kingdom and is actively expanding into other countries.
    Get it on iOS
    Get it on Android
  4. Karma
    Karma refers to its principle as “Radical Slacktivism” — Karma’s goal is to get people to make greener, better choices for the world without changing their normal behaviors. By getting people to prevent food waste and help the planet without thinking, they strongly believe more people will actively participate. Karma is currently available in Sweden and London.
    Get it on iOS
    Get it on Android
  5. Food for All
    Food For All offers discounted food from restaurants to prevent food waste, much like many of the other apps on this list. It pitches “50% off” the restaurants’ usual menu prices. Currently available in Boston and New York City, Food For All is targeting the Gen Z and Millennial populations with the promise of “fast” and “inexpensive” to-go food. You can follow them on Instagram.
    Get it on iOS
    Get it on Android
  6. Flashfood
    Flashfood connects consumers with stores looking to sell items instead of throw them away. The types of items they offer include fresh meat and produce from grocery stories across the United States and Canada, so you could say Flashfood is like looking for those “Manager Special” bins. This App works with a lot of major chain grocery stores, but that does mean it can have a much larger overall impact on food waste by utilizing the pre-existing inventory systems of these stores and easily track expiration dates of the lot numbers as they’re received. Hi — how can you tell if someone has worked with retail POS database systems?
    Get it on iOS
    Get it on Android
  7. YourLocal
    YourLocal is currently available in Copenhagen, Denmark and New York, New York. This Anti-food Waste App focuses on surplus perishables. Because it is available in such a small area at this time and is so new, (the developers started it as a text message thread!), we suggest you join if you’re in the area and interested, and get in if you can. It will be exciting to see how YourLocal develops from here.
    Get it on iOS
    Get it on Android
  8. FeedBack
    FeedBack is available for the Greater Toronto Area releasing this Fall 2021. Like FoodforAll, FeedBack focuses on to-go menu items. Keep an eye on this as they develop the new and improved version over the next couple of months!
    Sign up for the Beta
  9. Food Rescue Hero
    Started in the Pittsburgh Metro area and entirely volunteer run, this is rad way to fight food insecurity in your community. Food Rescue Hero matches restaurants donating surplus food with recipients in an end-to-end platform. Since 2016 they have expanded out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to include Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and more.
    Get it on iOS
    Get it on Android
Photo by Peter Wendt on Unsplash

Lastly, These oldies, but goodies to avoid sending items to the landfill: Freecycle and Craigslist (free section) will always be options for posting your unwanted and unneeded items to keep them out of the landfill.

Remember, beloved — Greed will *always* backfire.

Thank you to “Хейвуд Яфухов” for assisting with the writing of this article and providing Eastern North American correspondence.

This article contains no affiliate links. I’m raising awareness for genuinely inspiring uses of technology.


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