8 Free Greener Living Apps to Help South Africans Stay on top of Their Eco Game

Ah, the App Store. Whether you’re on Android or iPhone – this little portal of accessibility and self-reliance can facilitate pretty much anything in your life. Learn a language, improve your cooking, meditate, save money, get creative – you name it, there’s probably a dozen apps for it. Among the sea of techy innovation, there’s also a ton of greener living apps that promise to help you reduce your footprint.

We’re here to help you save hours of sifting through the not-so-great ones and finding the gems that could actually aid your eco living journey. Many of the green living apps getting serious praise also only cater to the North American demographic at this point. So while they might be great at helping consumers identify ingredients, get cash back for eco purchases and more, they’re not practical to us. But we’ve done the digging to find the apps multiple sources have good things to say about, and while not all of these are solely eco-focused, they’re the ones among the lot that provide relevant insight and practical greening solutions to South Africans.

BONUS: they’re all free!

1. AccuWeather

Knowing an accurate forecast of the weather might not seem like an environmental consideration, but in drought-stricken South Africa, being able to prep for imminent rainfall is certainly a big help. AccuWeather is considered one of the best on the weather prediction software scene. The UI is clean and easy to navigate and read and shows you sufficient info without over cluttering your screen.

2. WWF Sassi/Seafood Watch

For any seafood lover, enjoying seafood sustainably just makes good sense. The SASSI app helps to educate you on which fish you can eat without impact to their species count and which you should steer well clear of. This is a handy thing to whip out at a restaurant when the waiter gives you the fish of the day run down. And if you’re feeling emboldened to do so speak to the manager to see if the fish on offer is on the orange or red list. Another great marine ecology app is Seafood Watch, which offers similar insight and, in the US at least, it links with restaurants and vendors that sell sustainable fish and sushi. But it’s still a handy one to add and compare.

 3. iSeeChange

If you’re an information hound or enjoy being part of a collective effort this app might appeal to you. Created by the team at Nasa, iSeeChange gives you the chance to see what climate change aspects scientists are currently working on and if the location aligns to where you are, you can even contribute by uploading real-time info from your surroundings.

4. Earth Now

Here’s another jewel from NASA to help keep you abreast of climate change. By processing imagery from satellites of surface air temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and water vapour, as well as gravity and sea level variations, the Earth Now app creates colour overlays assimilating this data into a 3D model of the earth so you can better understand the impact of climate change on our planet. You might think this is information overload if the app isn’t directly helping you to achieve any greener living goals but think of it as a heart rate monitor on the person you love. Except it’s not a person you love, it’s your home. And if you have any friends with their head in the sand on climate change – this might help you prove your point.

5. Pack for a Purpose

Travel addicts, this one’s for you. This Pack for a Purpose app creates a super smart way of doing your bit to help the cause and offset some of your travelling’s carbon footprint. This app allows you to input where you’re travelling to and help out any initiatives in that area by bringing something along they might require, like basic school supplies or simple medical requirements. This means the organisation doesn’t have to expend the air miles of getting the supplies because they’re piggybacking off your trip and you’re helping out by donating something they genuinely need. Various accommodation spots in listed areas act as drop-off zones.

6. Tuffy Recycling App

Tuffy, the makers of recycled bin bags and other plastic products, and has realised that many people don’t recycle because they simply don’t know where to take their stuff. So, they’ve put together a neat Tuffy Recycling App that shows you which recyclable items can be taken to which drops off zones. And it’s sorted by province too. Plus, its GPS recycling centre integration will navigate you to where you need to go.

7. Waze

A congestion of overheating, fuming cars is a pretty bad thing on the pollution side of things. Nobody likes to be stuck in traffic longer than they need to. It kills your buzz, workflow and petrol consumption, not to mention the offensive air quality. Waze helps you outsmart traffic with real-time input from other drivers on the road, so you can avoid dangerous accidents, dodgy congestion and even gives you a heads up when you’re approaching a roadblock or which petrol pumps have the lowest price on your route. No ways? Waze.

8. Uber

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Uber allows you to organise a ride from pretty much anywhere (with varying waiting times depending on area) and pay for it with your credit or debit card or PayPal. If you’re not using this one yet, it’s a great way to not only be able to have a few glasses of vino out on the town, but also to organise some ride sharing and collective footprint reducing with your social crowd.


Have we missed any green living gems? Drop us a line in the comments below.

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