It’s Digital Clean Up Day on Saturday 18 March and if you think digital waste is harmless, think again! According to data on the Digital Clean Up Day website, a single email emits 4g of CO2. Just think of all those emails clogging up your Sent box… then think of the planet!
But we have some tips for you to Marie Kondo your digital life. Here’s 4 things you can tidy on Digital Clean Up Day that will help you to function more efficiently and be aware of your digital footprint:
- Email folders
That’s right! Dare to delete all the emails in your Deleted and Sent folders. Run an audit of your other email folders and bin anything that’s no longer relevant or out of date. We know inbox zero is a utopia but why not set yourself a maximum number of emails you allow in your inbox each day? This works not just for Digital Clean Up Day but helps you get in the habit of managing your emails (and CO2 emissions) into the future.
2. The Cloud
The Cloud may hold your pictures, videos and documents but consider how you can minimise the amount of Cloud storage you use. For example, you’ve shared (and therefore archived) your holiday snaps on social media, do you still need to keep 1000 of them in the Cloud too? As Amy Czuba from Computer Weekly writes: “the cloud consists of over 7.2 million power-hungry datacentres across the world that constantly use huge amounts of electricity to power and millions of gallons of water to cool.” Do you want to be responsible for that?
According to Clean Up Australia, Australians throw away upwards of 140 000 tonnes of ewaste each year. The good news is that a lot of this ewaste can be recycled. Look for programs and information at your local library or see if your council has an ewaste pick up.
4. Social media networks
Of the social media environment, Forbes magazine says: “… every online interaction we make, each click, thumbs-up, or thumbs-down, quietly contributes to climate change.”. If you’re on Twitter you can set up a tool to automatically delete your tweets after a few months. And do you really want to keep those dated Instagram posts from when borders were a thing? Deleting content from your social media accounts helps eliminate digital waste and cleans up your digital identity too!
We’re all for “you do you” so do Digital Clean Up Day your way. But make no mistake it is an important initiative and one more way you can do your little bit to help save our planet.
By Anne Reddacliff, ALIA Sustainable Libraries Group Committee Member