We have our smartphones and computers with us all day long, but we tend to forget that they are more than just physical objects. The ecological impact of their use also depends on our web practices. Yet it is difficult to remove the illusion that it is immaterial, and hence has no real life consequences. Well, our internet actions have a cost and having eco-friendly digital habits is important. But what are the best practices to adopt?
From the start, let’s be clear about something: according to ADEME, 47% of digital greenhouse gas emissions generated are due to consumer equipment (the use of our computers, phones, tablets). It means that we can act on almost 50% of digital pollution through simple actions.
1. Fight planned obsolescence
First step: taking care of your phone and computer to extend their life cycle is probably the best way to reduce your digital footprint. With a few simple steps you can keep your phone for 5 years and your computer for 7 years. And if you really need to change your device, remember to buy a refurbished one (we’re here to help you 😊).
2. Recycle e-waste
So, you followed our first tip to the letter and it’s been 15 years since you changed your phone? It may be time to sell your old model and give it a second life. By doing so, you rupture the infernal production cycle (extraction of raw materials, product manufacture, transport, disposal…) and reduce the ecological impact of your products by 80%.
3. Unplug devices and chargers
Are your smartphone and computer charged? Great, now unplug them and unplug the chargers from the outlet. Do the same for your internet box and your TV box. By doing so, you save 65 to 130 kWh, between 8 and 16 Euros and 650 to 1300 liters of water per year. And consider putting your devices to sleep when you’re not using them.
Caring for your phone or your computer and managing the end of life of your products is all well and good. But we can do more.
1. Limit your use of Cloud and Data Centers
While 47% of GHG emissions come from consumer equipment, 25% come from the infamous data centers. Avoid using online storage as much as possible (it’s time to blow the cobwebs off your old USB sticks and external hard drives), regularly sort your e-mails, limit the number of attachments and courtesy copies.
Since it’s impossible to completely get rid of data centers, consider switching to alternative messaging (like Newmanity).
2. Think about the search engine
Instead of typing your search on Google, you can access a site via your favorites or by directly typing the URL and thus reduce your GHG emissions by a factor of 4. And when you have no choice, choose ecological search engines such as Ecosia.
3. Reduce streaming
Well, a little bad news to finish with: watching streaming videos is as polluting as making a DVD. And we tend to watch movies or series several times. You can see how that soon adds up. Same for music. So why not go and say hello to the nearest record store?
By implementing these simple tips you can significantly improve your ecological footprint on the web while continuing to use your devices.