Digital Sobriety: How To Reduce The Environmental Impact Of Your Devices?

The democratization of digital equipment such as smartphones, tablets and laptops has a considerable impact on the environment. To help users take advantage of these new technologies while limiting their environmental footprint, Ademe has just published a new guide dedicated to digital sobriety. We have extracted 5 tips to apply without delay.

1- Do not renew your equipment too often

The first and one of the most important tips for achieving digital sobriety is to not renew your equipment such as smartphones, tablets and other computers too often.

Indeed, nearly 80% of the environmental impact of these devices is related to the manufacturing of the devices.

To limit this impact, consider applying the following tips:
- when purchasing, give preference to devices with environmental labels and choose the most energy-efficient and durable models, by consulting their reparability index.

- keep them as long as possible. Strive to extend the life of your connected devices, keeping them for 4 years instead of 2 if possible, which will halve the environmental impact of the product.

- If you need to change your device due to a breakdown for example, privilege alternatives to buying new such as a refurbished device.

2- Pamper your appliances

To keep your connected devices as long as possible, which is one of the key principles of digital sobriety, you need to ensure they are well maintained.

According to Ademe, a few simple reflexes are enough to extend the life of computers, tablets, smartphones and consoles.

The maintenance consists in particular in:
- protecting your smartphone from shocks with a shell, scratch-resistant film or anti-breakage glass
- removing dust from the ventilation inlets of your computer
- Avoiding overheating by making sure you never leave your equipment in direct sunlight, on your lap or on a blanket
- do not leave a device on charge overnight
- protect the system with a regularly updated antivirus and a secure browser
- clean your devices by regularly deleting useless data.

3- Limit your electricity consumption

Digital sobriety also means adopting good habits to limit the power consumption of your devices.

Some simple gestures can make your smartphone or tablet battery last longer, for example:
- prefer wifi to 4G whenever possible
- set your devices to the right parameters, in particular by using the energy saving mode
- turn off your devices when you don't need them, especially at night.

4- Limit the weight and transit of data

We don't usually realize it when we use them, but our connected devices need networks, infrastructure and data centers that consume a lot of materials and energy to operate.

A January 19, 2022 ADEME study estimates that the digital sector accounts for 2.5% of France's annual carbon footprint.

To achieve digital sobriety, we need to correct our data storage and sharing habits.

Ademe recommends in particular:
- to store useful and local, avoiding duplicate file storage and deleting all unnecessary documents in the cloud.
- to clean up your mailbox regularly because emails represent a large amount of permanently stored data. To limit the weight of this data, also consider unsubscribing from newsletters that you don't have time to read and limit attachments.
- download videos rather than watch them in streaming.

5- Don't forget to recycle your appliances

When your connected devices reach the end of their life, of course they should be recycled.

As in other areas, recycling contributes to digital sobriety because it allows you to dismantle equipment and recover as much reusable material as possible.

The manufacture of our smartphones requires natural resources that are not all renewable, hence the interest in recycling as many materials as possible.

But, to date, only half of our connected devices are recovered and recovered by recycling channels in France. Less than 10% of smartphones are collected for recycling, so that 50 to 100 million phones would be sleeping in our drawers! Say stop to this huge waste!

And if your device, smartphone or tablet is still working, consider giving it a second life by selling it or giving it to a loved one.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Hasan Albari on Negative Space
Tags: sobriety, digital, smartphones, recycling, tablets, environmental impact, Smartphone, tablet, France, data storage, carbon footprint, energy, data centers, infrastructure, file storage, cloud, mailbox, streaming, Don't forget, recycle, reusable, natural resources, renewable, waste, energy saving, 4G, laptops, environmental footprint, manufacturing, energy-efficient, shell, glass, dust, ventilation, computer, sunlight, blanket, antivirus, browser, consumption, power consumption, battery, democratization,
More informations: https://librairie.ademe.fr/cadic/6555/guide-en-route-vers-sobriete-numerique.pdf
In French: Sobriété numérique : comment réduire l'impact environnemental de vos appareils ?
En español: Sobriedad digital: ¿cómo reducir el impacto medioambiental de tus dispositivos?
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