Digital technology is responsible for 4% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Ademe. Here are some simple tips to become a responsible Internet user and reduce your impact on the planet.
All our activities on the net have an impact. Whether it’s a search engine, sending an e-mail or storing some files, these everyday actions have a more or less serious impact on our environment. However, wanting to help the planet does not mean that we should stop using technology! Instead, it’s about making the best use of them, and we’ll show you how.
Keep your digital equipment longer
The components of our digital devices contain materials that are toxic to the environment and unethical to produce. Moreover, the manufacture of these devices is expensive in raw materials and energy. Among other things, manufacturing a computer requires 240 kg of fossil fuels, 22 kg of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water. It is therefore better to change them as little as possible, and avoid replacing your digital devices spontaneously. By keeping a tablet or computer for 4 years instead of changing it after 2 years, you can improve its environmental record. Therefore, if you take care of it, and if you decide to repair it when it is broken instead of replacing it, your smartphone can be used for almost 5 years and your laptop for more than 10 years!
Finally, the day you decide to replace your device, get rid of it via second-hand resale, donation, or recycling to reduce your impact on our planet. After the fact, opt for refurbished rather than new for your new device.
Optimize the storage and exchange of your messages
Wanting to reduce your carbon footprint also means that you should change the way you use your online email. Indeed, the processing of a single email requires a large number of devices and servers, which consumes a lot of energy and contributes to climate change. This means reducing the volume and weight of your emails and their storage. You can therefore try to reduce the weight of your messages by using lightweight formats for images (such as JPEG), and by compressing the files you wish to send. Also, only keep the emails that are important to you, and regularly sort through your inbox, not forgetting your spam section. Today, there are applications or Chrome extensions dedicated to this task, such as CleanFox or Clean Email.
Limit your energy consumption
Finally, the last step in your quest to preserve the planet must be to save energy. Indeed, it is the production of energy that is responsible for most of our CO2 emissions. So here’s a short list of things you can do to use as little energy as possible on the net.
- Put your digital device on standby or turn it off if you are not using it
- Store locally instead of in the cloud: online storage consumes a lot of energy via power-hungry datacenters
- Bookmark the sites that interest you instead of leaving tabs open all the time on your browser!
- Turn off your internet box at night and when you are away. The consumption of these appliances is between 150 and 300 kWh per year. That’s almost as much as a refrigerator!
- Watch your videos and series in low resolution (at least, if you can stand it!): the streaming industry is responsible for a large part of our digital pollution!
Now you have all the tools to become an eco-responsible Internet user!