Top tips to be more sustainable with your tech

2 May 2019

Over the last decade, we’ve become totally addicted to tech. Most of us own a smartphone or tablet, we spend more time on the internet, and we’re constantly on the hunt for the next upgrade. All that tech is having a serious impact on our digital carbon footprint – so here’s how you can be more sustainable with yours.

Choose an ethical mobile phone

The ethics in producing mobile phones varies widely depending on which brand you opt for. And according to Greenpeace, we’ve used as much energy in smartphone production over the last decade as it would take to power the whole of India for a year.

The Ethical Consumer ranks mobile phones based on a number of ethical factors, including environmental impact, human rights, political donations, and animal welfare. The most ethical mobile phone on their list is Fairphone – a modular smartphone, where all the parts are replaceable and ethically sourced.

Unfortunately, most reviews of the Fairphone say it falls short on battery life, performance, and aesthetics. But there are other well-known brands that are ethical in their production – including Blackberry, HTC and Nokia.

Unplug your charger

Keeping your tech plugged in when it’s already charged up will kill the battery life of your gadgets, and waste electricity. So once you’re at 100% battery, unplug your charger.

It’s also good to get into the habit of powering down laptops and computers when you’re not using them, and setting up sleep mode to conserve battery life.

If you regularly need to top up your battery charge on the go, consider investing in a hand crank charger like the Pocket Socket. You’ll get the peace of mind that your tech won’t run out of battery, while powering it with zero carbon energy.

Hang on to your tech

According to the United Nations University, 44.7 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated globally in 2016. Only 20% of that waste was documented to be collected and properly recycled – which means that 80% wasn’t recycled properly, or ended up in landfill.

Get the most from your tech by getting it repaired or looking for refurbished models, instead of always opting to buy new. Switch to a SIM only provider when your contract ends – by avoiding mobile phone upgrades and being more considered with any tech purchases, you’ll create less electronic waste.

Most small electronics, including mobile phones, can be recycled, so always try to recycle your tech where possible. You can find out what to do with your old electronics on the Recycle Now website.

Use an eco-friendly browser

With an estimated 2.5 billion people around the world connected to the internet, it’s no surprise that the carbon footprint of the internet is estimated to exceed that of energy.

Switch to a more sustainable web browser, like Ecosia to cut your digital carbon footprint. They’re a search engine who use their profits to plant trees in areas across the globe that need them most. And their servers run on 100% renewable energy.

Ecosia helps benefit the environment, along with local communities – so every time you search the internet, you know you’re doing something good.

Choose energy efficient technology

When you can’t avoid buying new, look for the most energy efficient appliance you can find. Buying new energy efficient tech is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, as newer appliances often require less energy to run than older models.

You can find out more about choosing energy efficient appliances in our 12 ways to save on your energy bills blog.

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