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10 ways to reduce your digital consumption

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Watching a video on the metro, searching for a restaurant or a store using a search engine, sharing photos... we all do it. It's convenient, but digital is not environmentally neutral. It accounts for 8% of the world's energy consumption and contributes to global warming!

We are aware of the importance of saving energy, water, food, etc. However, we can all just as easily reduce our digital consumption by up to 350kg of CO2 per year and per person using our 10 practical tips!

1.    Keep your devices for as long as possible

You do not need to rush out and buy the latest model on the market or give in to all the promotional offers. By installing the right software and antivirus programme, your computer will last for many years. Once past the 4-year mark, its environmental record drops by 50%!

If it breaks, why not call the Repair Café before buying a new device? And if you must buy a new one, consider second-hand or reconditioned equipment.

2.    Practice sensible streaming

Streaming represents 80% of web traffic, which is three times the CO2 emissions of the whole of Belgium!

  • Set your devices so that videos do not start automatically, including advertisements.
  • Change the video quality to low definition to reduce the size of the playback, especially from a smartphone.
  • And if you want to watch the same video more than once, download it so that you can watch it offline as often as you like, avoiding data transfer with each playback.

3.    Limit attachments

Sending an e-mail with a single attachment is equivalent to 50 grams of CO2, or 500m travelled by car. So, think before sending: do I really need to send these attachments to so many people? If yes, compress the attachments or use hyperlinks.

4.    Regularly clear out your mailbox

Have a sort out, delete your oldest emails, unread newsletters, spam, etc. A smaller mailbox means less storage in the data centres and less power consumption for the computer servers.

5.    Sort your digital devices

You do not need a computer, mini tablet, maxi tablet, smartphone, etc. all at the same time.

Also, do not keep your old devices in drawers or in the cellar; they contain a wealth of recyclable materials.

Deposit your old devices in recycling bins. And if they still work, consider reselling them or giving them away (store addresses on Caban website).

6.    Control your number of connected objects

By 2025, there will be nearly 50 billion connected objects! Some are designed to reduce your energy or heating consumption, for example. But do you really need a connected toothbrush, connected bathroom scales or a connected dog bowl?

These devices require a regular connection to retrieve and store data that you will ultimately do nothing with.

7.    Web searches

Your web searches have a significant ecological impact. A search engine query is equivalent to a low-energy light bulb lit for 1 hour!

If you regularly visit the same sites, save the URLs in your favourites or find them using your history instead of doing the same online search 10 times a day.

You can also use environmentally responsible search engines, such as Ecosia, which are involved in green computing.

8.    Switch off your devices

The set-top box, the games console, the charger, the printer... all these devices consume electricity, even in standby. Turn them off as soon as you no longer need them.

As well as being environmentally friendly, it can save you up to €80 per year.

9.    Set up your printer correctly

Print only what you need and set your printer to print in black and white, draft quality and double-sided. In addition to electricity, you save on paper and ink cartridges.

You should also know that a multifunction printer (scanner, printer, photocopier) consumes 50% less energy than three separate devices.

10.     Store locally

Cloud storage leads to traffic back and forth between your computer and the servers and requires more power than local storage.

Of course, you have to back up your data. But do you really need to keep all your holiday photos from the last 15 years in the cloud? Can't some of them be stored on a hard drive or even deleted?