Screen time has never been higher. With streaming now more popular than ever and social media an inevitable part of our daily lives, we spend more time than ever using electrical devices, which all contributes to our digital carbon footprint.
46.6 million people used the internet daily in the UK during 2020 according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) breaking the record set the year prior, while UK adults spent nearly a third of waking hours watching TV and online video content in 2020, according to Ofcom.
Andrew Read, Managing Director at Resilient Business Systems, shares his top tips on reducing your digital carbon impact.
Turn off your devices
Appliances such as your PC, printer, monitor, laptop, TV, tablet, phone, and chargers all use electricity so turn them off at the wall once you’re finished using them.
If you’re prone to forgetting to switch off, there are a few solutions you can try. Smart technology will allow you to control them from wherever you are, meaning you can switch off devices and, even your lights, if you forget or when you’re not at home. If this is applied to a gangway plug, for example, you can ensure more than one device is switched off at the same time.
Software like Alexa can be programmed to turn off your switches with a simple command like “turn off the office” while other options include changing your PC power settings to automatically go into hibernation mode after a certain length of time.
Dispose your unwanted equipment with care
Electronic equipment waste needs considerate and careful disposal. Much of it contains heavy, poisonous elements and, if dumped carelessly, is extremely harmful to the environment and can also have serious ramifications for human health.
Electronic waste is regulated by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), which covers electrical and electronic equipment including computers, mobile phones, printers, and TVs. If you can’t manage your electrical waste in accordance with WEEE you should find a company that can do it on your behalf.
Disposal isn’t the only option. Just because you no longer want or need it, it doesn’t mean that someone else can’t use it.
Do you really need to buy brand new?
Consider buying reconditioned electrical equipment such as laptops, desktops, and tablets. The cost savings can be substantial while performance and support remains the same or even improved and, of course, buying refurbished equipment will significantly reduce waste that is harmful to both the planet and human health.
Reputable suppliers of reconditioned computers will ensure that any personal or business data is removed safely, and re-install the operating system from scratch, effectively making the equipment a brand-new product. At the same time, they may check and swap out parts like optical drives as required.
Do check which equipment is best to buy refurbished as some, including monitors, aren’t always suitable.
Can you repurpose older equipment?
You may find that you can use older electrical equipment for other purposes in your home or office. For example, while an older computer may not be fast enough to run the latest software you need it could still be used for less demanding purposes.
Sometimes it’s best to replace
Older equipment, such as outdated CRT monitors, are best replaced as the benefits of disposal will outweigh the costs of running them. Older equipment will not be as eco-friendly and are likely to use excessive energy so correct disposal and replacement is often the best option. If you do buy new, make sure it is energy star rated so you can make sound decisions based on its long-term running costs and how energy efficient it is.
Explore your software options
Using eco-friendly software as much as possible will go a long way in helping you to reduce your environmental impact. The Ecosia search engine, for example, uses its advertising revenue to plant trees where they are needed the most.
It’s also worth exploring how your current software can support your quest to reduce your carbon impact. For example, check your settings to see if you can automatically delete your deleted emails, any temporary files, and items in your waste bin. These files can fill your disk, and can slow down your PC making it less efficient.
Resilient Business Systems have been an active supporter and sponsor of Climate Action North since its inception.
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