Anything we do on the web, whether it’s on a phone, a machine or a notebook, uses electricity. And based on where, you live the electricity usually comes from a mixture of various resources, but most likely fossil fuels-coal, natural gas or oil-which generate Co2 when burnt and lead to global warming and then, of course, there’s the energy you need to make the devices you used first.
In 2018, also in terms of CO2 emissions, internet technologies overtook the aviation industry. And as more and more people get online every day, the production and usage of electronic devices and digital services is increasing significantly.
Strategies to reduce your virtual carbon emissions
Consume more consciously
A choice on what we want to purchase is always a choice about the world we’re living in. Is the product developed under fair conditions? Have the staff been reasonably paid and regarded? What is the effect of its development on the environment? And when it comes to the virtual environment, that’s no different.
When it comes to purchasing “ethical electronics” the choices are very small, but when it comes to phones, the demand seems to be growing. Shiftphone and Fairphone are only two manufacturers who claim to guarantee safe working conditions and to deliver reliable (and/or remediable) non-conflict mineral goods.
Avoid the production of electronic waste
We’re replacing our connected devices with the next gen before they’ve even finished running, and we’d rather throw out our outdated phones and purchase a better one than attempting to repair them. If you really need a new smartphone or device, how about buying a second hand from someone?
If your old one is defective rather than completely finished, try out the repair tips on Fixit to see if it can be recovered. Or if it was something you know you’re not going to use all that much (a GoPro or Fancy camera, for instance), how about saving cash and renting it for a minimal charge instead?
Clean up your E- mail box
Any mail that arrives or is deposited in your inbox needs computing resources yes, you guessed it, electricity. You could do the same for your digital inbox as you do with your physical one: cut off junk/spam mail, unsubscribe from emails you never open, and clean up old messages from your inbox on a regular basis.
This is an easy way to reduce store footprint if you operate an online business.
Dispose of your old devices properly
Far too often, old computer devices are actually mixed in with regular household trash which means that all the recyclable products in it have gone to waste and potentially dangerous waste from reaching the landfill and have induced water and soil pollution. Or, instead, they end up accumulating dust in a cabinet.
If you have devices that have reached the end of their life, please educate yourself about the best way of disposing of them. Most major cities in Europe will have a recycle or pick-up service, so check online for the right approach before digging your devices.