In recent years, talk of climate change and the effect it is having on our planet has dominated public discussion and political debate in the media. Many have questioned whether it is too late to make a difference to our planet and promote sustainable modes of living as we have seen carbon emissions grow more between 2000 to 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.
In the UK, we have seen the likes of conservationist David Attenborough rally towards a greener future as he urged parliament just last month that ‘we cannot be radical enough’ when it comes to climate change, and suggests bringing forward the UK target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.
"We cannot be radical enough" - David Attenborough on climate change
In the midst of such debate, we must ask ourselves, what can technology do to promote sustainability, reduce pollution and reduce waste at landfill sites to help create a greener planet for future generations?
UK households alone waste over 25 million tonnes of consumer goods per year. Approximately a quarter of this goes into landfill- equivalent to 3.5 million cars being dumped in a hole annually.
Red C is working closely with conservationist start-up app YoungPlanet, launched in 2018 in the London borough of Hackney with future roll-outs to follow in neighbouring London boroughs. The app facilities ‘turning the stuff you don’t need into the things that others enjoy’, enabling parents to divert toys, clothes and prams that their children have outgrown away from landfill by giving and receiving their unused items with other parents for free.
The YoungPlanet concept is centred around offering a sustainable solution to waste and helping to save the environment. As well as this, it outshines many similar competitors as all items listed in the app are free to post and free to exchange between users, trumping similar re-cycling apps that involve in-app purchases of items. Therefore, as well as helping to save the planet, the app allows members to save money, declutter their homes, and build a strong community network through the app’s chat functionality.
"We are aiming to address the what’s next for consumerism" - YoungPlanet
Whilst 65% of Londoners wish they recycled more, there is a lack of platforms/applications that capitalise on the power of tech and the ability to connect hundreds of thousands of people instantly to promote change, or as a market to re-circulate consumer goods to prevent waste.
According to National Geographic, ‘atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide- the most dangerous and prevalent greenhouse gas- are at the highest levels ever recorded.’ Because of its near-total dependence on petroleum fuels, the transportation sector is responsible for producing an overwhelming large chunk of the planet’s climate-changing emissions, specifically man-made carbon dioxide.
Globally, ‘about 15 per-cent of man-made carbon dioxide comes from cars, trucks and aeroplanes'. - Centre for Biological Diversity
For over a decade, American tech company GoCarma has been working with the government as well as commercial organisations to fight traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions by offering an alternative to single-occupancy vehicles. The platform has verified millions of carpool trips and developed breakthrough technology to enable automated high-occupancy toll discounts.
"We continue to pave the way for shared autonomous mobility" - GoCarma
Despite the fact that descriptions of Uber and Lyft often involve the term ‘ride-sharing’, for the most part, these apps do not facilitate much ride-sharing. Sean O’Sullivan, GoCarma’s CEO aimed to develop an app that solved a different problem to ride-hailing apps such as Uber. Rather, GoCarma aims to reduce the number of cars on the roads by connecting drivers with other commuters headed to work or headed the same way within the surrounding area. Not only does the app reduce congestion and save users money, carpooling is a perfect way to help reduce carbon emissions.
According to Too Good To Go, each year, over 10 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK alone. This waste is estimated to be worth £17 billion a year. That’s £700 per family, per year spent on food that ends up in the bin.
With an idealistic vision of a ‘world with no waste’, Too Good To Go enables retailers and businesses to reduce food waste by joining the app and selling food nearing its best before date at a discounted rate to customers within the app. Users can find a local eatery and place an order within the app, and then collect their meal at the specified time enjoying discounted produce and helping to save the environment.
‘Reducing food waste is one of the most important things we can do to reverse global warming.' - Chad Frischmann, Climate Change Expert
Since launching the app in June 2016, Too Good To Go has grown rapidly and is now the world’s largest surplus food market, active across many European cities. The platform acknowledges a whopping 18,786,746 meals that have been saved globally, equivalent to 47,689 tonnes of CO2 through use of the platform since 2016.
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