You know that nagging feeling when you’re on a flight? No, it’s nothing to do with worrying about a missing left phalange. Or that the trolley might run out of Chenin Blanc. (Although these are both valid fears). That niggle, is probably your conscience.
Because while we are big believers that crossing borders has the power to break down boundaries and make positive changes in the world, as travellers, we can’t hide from the fact that our travel choices impact the environment.
We can all make changes to help, at home and abroad. Whether that’s choosing to take a train journey over an internal flight, or simply carrying a refillable water bottle and a reusable bag on your trip.
And this is where technology can help. Here’s how you can start making a world of difference, from your mobile! (Double Millennial points).
The Refill app: get FREE drinking water on the go
We love this app. Helping to keep you hydrated, save you money and reduce plastic pollution at the source, it’s pretty much the holy trifecta of apps!
It’s simple. When you’re out and about, just go onto the app and use your location to find local Refill Stations where you can fill up your bottle with drinking water for free. So now, there’s no need to spend money on expensive bottled water or contribute to the plastic problem.
Founded by Natalie Fee, environmental campaigner and all-around badass human, there are now 20,000+ businesses that have joined the refill revolution, including many UK airports. Look out for the drains as you pass through security, then simply fill up your bottle at the airside Refill Station to take with you onto the plane.
Why hit download: If just one in ten Brits refilled their water bottles once a week, we’d have 340 million less plastic bottles a year in circulation. Have you got the bottle?
ReGAIN: turn your unwanted clothes into discounts
Laying the foundations for a circular economy in fashion, this app helps you to get rid of your old clothes, save on new ones, and help the planet!
Just pack up your unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories, and ship them to ReGAIN for free or drop them at 20,000+ drop off points around the UK. The ReGAIN app then awards you with discount coupons to spend on new clothes, travel and homeware; with partner brands including ao.com, Boohoo, Missguided, New Balance and Superdry.
What happens to your old clothes? ReGAIN guarantee that 90% will be reused or recycled, with the remaining being used as combustibles for energy production to make new clothes.
Why hit download: Around 50 full trailers of clothing go into UK landfill every single day, with some garments taking 50 years to breakdown.
Images of Change app: watch the world change before your eyes
First things first, as the cleverest humans on the planet (and potentially outside the planet, although they’re the only ones likely to know about that and no one’s telling…) if NASA develop an app, you know it’s going to be a good one.
Using both imagery from space and from the ground, the app shows side-by-side and before-and-after images of Earth and how it has changed through climate change, urban growth and natural disasters.
Why hit download: Seeing is believing, and sometimes, we all need a shocking reminder that we need to take action. Also, to all your climate change deniers out there… the camera never lies.
The BeachClean app: do a #2MinuteBeachClean
Brought to you by the #2minutebeachclean campaign and supported by our favourite travel gear site, Surfdome, the BeachClean app is a great example of using app technology and social media to support, share and record the fight against marine pollution.
Part of a global movement that encourages people to do a 2-minute beach clean, the app allows you to record your beach clean, tag and upload it to social, and find your nearest beach clean station. It also collects data on the type of debris being found and helps to located potential pollution hotspots.
Why hit download: One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die because of marine litter each year. Picking up just one piece of rubbish could save an animal’s life, and tagging it, could help encourage others to do the same.
Oroeco app: track your climate footprint
Have you just taken the bus instead of driven? Or walked instead of getting a lift? Using their clever carbon footprint calculator, this app tells you exactly how your actions are impacting climate change. Sounds judgy? It isn’t. What’s great about this app is that it gives you practical tips and goals to encourage you to make more eco-conscious choices about how you travel, shop and power your home.
Why hit download: It doesn’t just help you to reduce your carbon footprint, but also helps you to save money.
Need more of a dose of plastic-free, environmentally friendly travel? Read on…