5 sustainable tech startups you need to know about in 2022

Photo by Gábor Molnár on Unsplash

As we’ve gained a deeper understanding of how our world works, the ‘tech for good’ movement has flourished — and sustainable tech startups have cropped up left right and centre as a result. As highlighted by the conversations coming out of COP26, businesses need to change — and consumers will follow suit. Having a sustainable and eco-conscious product is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s a business imperative.

Luckily, we’re currently spoiled for choice. The last few years have seen startups across tech create innovative and user-friendly ways for us to incorporate sustainability into our everyday lives. From apps that help us track our carbon footprint, to menus that make going vegan fun — there’s a digital product for everyone, at every stage of their sustainability journey.

Read on for five sustainable startups you need to know about in 2022!

1. Human Forest

A major initiative to reduce the carbon emissions caused by cars and to get people walking has been spearheaded by the startup Human Forest, the first micro-mobility company to implement an innovative e-bike solution in the capital. With the guidance of former Cabify chief Agustin Guilisasti and co-founders Juan de Antonio and Vicente Pascual, these charming bikes reduce the hectic car traffic.

The Human Forest app helps get their customers around London by bike at an affordable and convenient price. Their unique model provides 10 free minutes per day followed by 0.15 pence per minute after that. At the company’s launch event, the PM’s Mental Health Ambassador, Dr Alex George, and Air pollution campaigner, Destiny Boka Bates, spoke on the benefits of cycling on mental wellbeing and air quality.

Dr Alex George said, “Climate change anxiety is one of the biggest worries for young people. There are plenty of studies to suggest that green space and clean air can reduce anxiety and improve mental wellbeing.” A pedal-powered revolution and a city that emits less CO2? Sounds like a win-win to us!

2. Olio

It’s estimated that food waste accounts for as much as 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, and in the grand scheme of things — that number is huge! This alarming number attracted the attention of entrepreneurs Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, and in 2015 they created OLIO: An app designed to eliminate waste, bring communities together, and boost sustainability for the planet.

Clarke and Celestial-One came up with the idea and began testing it out on a WhatsApp group with people who lived near each other to determine if the idea had legs. Since its launch, the London-based app has grown to have over five million members, sharing 34,322,715 portions of food — equivalent to saving 100,784,397 car miles.

Clark isn’t just an advocate for eliminating food waste; she also wants to stamp out unnecessarily discarding household items, quoting that “Waste isn’t just what ends up in a landfill. Waste is also all the stuff gathering dust in our homes — whilst our neighbours are busy buying yet more of the very same stuff.”

Ahead of the COP26 opening, OLIO introduced a new feature to their app called borrow, aimed at encouraging people to share things like drills and pasta makers for short-term use with their local community. With this feature, families will be able to save money and avoid ordering items online unnecessarily.

3. Allplants

Perhaps you’ve turned to a meat-free diet in a bid to minimise your carbon footprint, but with a busy schedule and nothing hitting the sweet spot, you’ve found yourself floundering. Well, you needn’t look further — Allplants has developed the solution. Allplants offer a unique service that allows customers to build a box of six plant-based recipes to be delivered to their homes, picking from a selection of dishes and choosing a portion size that fits their household.

Jonathan and Alex Petrides founded the company in 2016, but the world’s slow transition to eating less meat meant it wasn’t easy getting it off the ground. However, due to the rise in sustainable eating trends, they’re now on track to turnover £15 million this year.

Not only have they had financial success, but significant recognition from industry bodies and organisations such as the Food and Drink Heros awards, where Jonathan won start-up entrepreneur of the year. It’s also important to note that the brand is not judgmental when it comes to those who eat meat. In their advertising earlier this year they stated,

“We are still, and always will be, 100% plant-based. But the last thing we want is to make anybody feel guilty about a slice of cheese. Because the way we see it: the more plant-based plates, the better for the planet. Whether that’s every meal, or just the odd one now and then, it’s all good with us.”

Environmentally friendly food options have joined the mainstream, and we love to watch companies such as Allplants make it so delicious! Why not take a look at their menu?

4. Tred

Wouldn’t it be nice to know that each time you swipe your card for your morning Starbucks, you’re contributing to reforestation projects around the world? If that sounds good to you, check out Tred, the UK’s first green debit card that lets you track, reduce, and offset your carbon footprint.

With the help of crowdfunding, the sustainable startup has raised more than £1 million and created cards made of recycled ocean plastic. They’ve designed an app that will instantly convert every pound you spend into CO2 emissions. Depending on your spending habits, your carbon footprint will be broken down into helpful categories such as groceries and flights, so you can see which aspects of your lifestyle contribute to global warming — and possibly encourage you to alter them.

Founders Will Smith and Peter Kirby came up with the idea when they realised that there was no direct way to measure your carbon emissions daily. Will previously described the process as “trying to lose weight without any scales.” Tred was then designed because he believed that this information should be as accessible and as easy to use as possible for the average person. Similar to Monzo’s notifications, the app provides notifications on CO2 emissions and pounds.

5. Oxwash

Frustrated with the faulty washing machines on campus, Students Kyle Grant and Oxford engineer Tom de Wilton began to pick up and wash clothes for their classmates. They’re now known as Oxwash and have become the UK’s fastest-growing on-demand laundry business with a difference.

Since its launch in 2017, Oxwash has re-engineered the laundry process entirely. To save energy, they’ve drastically reduced the heat required to generate 60-degree water. The company relies on ozone technology to sterilise fabrics at lower temperatures and with the use of dissolvable laundry bags. Their reasonably simple business model lets customers order online, choose a time and location, and Oxwash takes care of the local pickups and deliveries using their electric cargo bikes.

A commitment to sustainability is woven throughout every aspect of Oxwash’s business, from working to address the challenge of driers that dry clothes quickly without using natural gas, to using electric cargo bikes to handle the company’s logistics.

Using the bikes was extremely important to CEO Kyle Grant: “Developing a model that was hyper-local, carbon-neutral and tech-enabled — that reversed the sector’s adverse impact on the planet rather than adding to it — was fundamental.”

Final thoughts

New conversations about climate change have flourished due to COP26, and it’s vital to keep the momentum going. An impressive number of start-ups with innovative visions for a greener planet don’t just give us hope — they also provide options for consumers who want to make sure they’re spending their money in the greenest way possible and aligning themselves with brands that are making a positive impact on the planet.

So no matter what you do, who you are, you can make a difference. If you’re interested in being part of an exciting industry that helps to create digital products like the apps mentioned above, head here to learn more about our software development Bootcamp. You never know, the next tech trailblazer could be you!

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our guide for Software Developers on coding your way to a better climate.

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