9 ways to reduce your environmental impact when using technology
As we've written about before at Tidy we believe that the best way of lowering our collective environmental impact is for everyone to make a few small changes to their lifestyles. We don't need a few folks living a "prefect" eco-friendly lifestyle, we need everyone to start with doing just a one thing differently and building from there.
That would have a much wider, more immediate impact.
That would be tidy.
When it comes to the technology we use, there are many simple changes we can make to reduce our impact on the environment. Here are our top nine:
1. Use a less power hungry device when you can
Did you know that not all of your devices consume power in the same way?
A desktop is more power hungry than a laptop. Which in turn is more power hungry than a tablet.
If you're lucky enough to have a choice of devices to use while working, watching the latest streaming series or casually browsing online, then try to pick the least power hungry option.
As a rule of thumb, the smaller and lighter the device, the less power it will consume while in use.
2. Unplug and turn off
If you're a heavy user of a laptop try unplugging it even when you're at your desk and switching off the power brick to use less energy. Leaving your laptop charging constantly reduces the lifetime of its battery, so not only will you save some power, you'll extend the life of your workhorse.
3. Use your device's built in power management options
Whether you use a laptop or desktop, both have "power management" settings. Use these to reduce the time your screens and devices stay active when you're not. Just putting your screen to sleep can save a significant amount of power.
The best thing about this tip is that it's a set and forget task!
4. Turn off your peripherals too
The phone charger you have on your desk. The powered USB hub. Your printer (if you still have one). External hard drive? All those extra peripherals that clutter your desk consume power when you're not using them. Turning them off when not in use could reduce your energy consumption and energy bill.
Our top tip is to plug all the extra peripherals you use into one power strip that you can turn off at the wall, rather than having to switch each thing off one by one.
5. Charge smaller devices via solar panels
We've written before about using small portable solar panels to charge power packs and devices while on holiday. Why not do the same at home?
While a solar panel is a slow way to charge your laptop and unlikely sufficient to power a desktop, there are many relatively cheap, portable options that will are powerful enough to charge your phone, tablet, wireless mouse, keyboard or headphones.
Remember, small changes like charging your headphones via solar power do add up over time...
6. Upgrade less often
It's easy to get sucked into the annual upgrade cycle that many device manufacturers heavily promote. But it's rare that you actually need the latest and greatest device.
70%-80% of the impact of a device is accounted for during it's manufacture. So the more use you get out of it the better.
7. Consider a refurbished device over a new one
When you do need to replace an older device, it's worth considering buying a refurbished machine instead of a brand new one.
Refurbished devices have a lower environmental impact overall compared with new devices and tend to be cheaper too, so you help lower your impact on the environment and save money.
8. Recycle your old device
Related to both of the previous two tips, when you do upgrade consider recycling your old device.
Either pass it on to a friend or family member who could be a very willing second owner, or see if the manufacturer of your device has a recycling program. Many do now.
Sending it back to the manufacturer will allow them to either harvest parts and materials from your old device, or refurbish it... see previous tip 😉
9. Turn off, tune out, drop in
Of course, the best way of reducing your impact on the environment when it comes to technology is to simply turn it off and use it less.
For many of us now our daily working life involves staring at screens and talking with colleagues via video and chat apps.
Then our leisure time involves scrolling through content, browsing online stores, streaming video or playing video games.
We could all probably do with turning devices off more often, tuning out of social media now and then, and dropping back in to real life more regularly. 😃
...and what has all of this got to do with men's solid shampoo we hear you ask?
Nothing at all 😄
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