Get-neutral – Environmental Activism à la Android
Tested version: 1.0
Latest version: 2.0.0
Requires Android: from 2.2
Climate protection is of capitol importance and – without wanting to sound too preachy or pedantic – everyone should be doing their bit, especially in light of the fact that private consumption causes almost half of global CO2 emissions. Whether you like it or not, that means that we are all directly responsible for climate change, i.e. we are all contributing to global warming (which, BTW, is a sad and scary fact, and not humbug as some people have been fooled into believing).
Smartphones are responsible for opening up a whole new realm of relaying information, providing us with new forms of entertainment and communication as well as a lot of totally absurd and (arguably) pointless other things (check out our WTF apps of the week—there're some utterly hilarious apps floating around out there). Some developers have obviously been working hard at turning smartphones into tools that can help users make smart and ethically & environmentally viable choices in regards to how they contribute to CO2 emissions by the choices they make as consumers.
Get-neutral is an excellent example of this type of application. In a nutshell: it can be used to scan barcodes of products and can then see how much CO2 a given product caused. This is a wonderfully easy and effective way of accessing information, and, if you're so inclined, the app can then be used to guide you in the choices you make in regards to buying certain products. Furthermore, there's an option to help 'neutralise' effects on the climate.
We were enthusiastic about this project and simply had to test the app to see what it's got. Read on to find out what conclusions we were able to draw.
Features & Use
Before going into detail about the application itself, let me give you a brief lowdown on how it actually works. Select sponsors and companies enable Get-neutral users to gain 'CO2 credit' (or neutralising/voucher points), which can be used up by scanning (and 'neutralising') products. The sponsors' role is to invest in reforestation and finance wind and solar parks.
The user doesn't carry any costs as the sponsors are solely responsible for covering finances. The only condition is setting up a free Get-neutral account, which is then used to log into the app.
The main display provides information on how much CO2 emissions you've not spent, climate points and your current CO2 credit. This is also where barcodes can be scanned (or entered manually). The options Neutralise and Actions can be found at the bottom of the display.
As for the climate score: products that are more environmentally friendly and/or sustainable garner more points.
Hit the Actions tab to view your CO2 credit; this is also where publicity for Get-neutral's sponsors pops up. There are also product descriptions, and an option for crediting points to your account, although this is only possible once. To get more credit you will have to wait for new offers that provide this option. Alternatively, you can score credit by inviting friends or via the Get-neutral Facebook community (mainly in German at the moment; here's hoping the international and/or English speaking community will keep growing).
Scanning and neutralising products proved to work out quite well during our test runs. Scan a barcode to view information related to the product (so long as information is available; at the moment this seems to be limited to grocery and drug store articles on the European market).
A few examples of how much CO2 is caused by:
- A packet of crisps/chips: corresponds to ca. 18 hours of radio
- A litre of milk: corresponds to ca. 1 hour of hoovering/vacuuming
- A 1 kg bag of gummy bears: corresponds to driving ca. 22 km in an medium sized car
- One bar of chocolate: corresponds to doing ca. 3 loads of laundry
The Get-neutral concept is certainly an interesting one. The important thing to remember is that it doesn't take a huge amount of time, effort or commitment to do something for the environment—and it's fantastic that smartphones can help us along the way!
Our one concern would be the app's possible lack of neutrality, seeing as it is sponsored, but we haven't done any background checks, so this is really more of a question than a concern. Please comment below if you have any information or thoughts.
Screen & Controls
The Get-neutral UI is quite pleasant and controls are easy.
Speed & Stability
Very satisfied with Get-neutral's performance in this category. The app might take a few seconds to load here and there, but scanning is done in a jiffy.
Help the environment for free and with minimal effort? Get-neutral makes it possible. The app provides you with quick, no-fuss solutions for making smart choices, as well as interesting infos—for free!
No comparable apps are currently known to us. If you happen to know one, it would be great if you could get in touch with us.Report comparable or similar apps