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Sustainable Tech Tips for the Chronically Online - World Earth Day Edition

Words by Cheyanne Bryan

A holiday just to celebrate Mother Earth? Count me in! 

Technology is a big part of the world we live in and is a necessary part of the way we live, work and socialise. But so is environmental concern. Taking a small action can have a big impact on our carbon footprints and collective carbon emissions. More and more people want to know what simple changes they can make to their lifestyles to embrace eco-friendly habits. 

For World Earth Day, here are some sustainable tech tips for those who are chronically online. 

Turn off the lights 

This may be a heavily dismissed feature as some use it as purely an aesthetic choice but choosing dark mode has great sustainable benefits. According to many online articles, it reduces energy consumption and emissions. While research into the benefits of darker user interfaces is varied, it has been noted to produce better results depending on the screen brightness and screen type. 

You may also find that this feature is introduced on many websites as a dark/light mode toggle, giving users the choice. And this impact goes for all your devices, if there is a dark mode available, consider switching to save carbon emissions. 

Switch the search 

Search engines are the starting point of many of our online needs. Recent data from Cloudwards says on average Google processes 3.5 billion searches every day. If these numbers could be transferred to search engines that pledge profits and plant trees like Ecosia, or support oceans and reduce plastic waste with Google Chrome extension OceanHero, environmental conservation would be a daily activity for billions of people. 

Recharge rather than repurchase

A simple switch to rechargeable batteries would reduce the amount of batteries that end up in landfills significantly in addition to reducing the amount of harmful substances released into the earth due to ditched batteries. For items like TV remotes or gaming controllers, rechargeable batteries could be very easily incorporated.

Plus, it will save you money!

Taking the old and making something new 

This one may seem like a no-brainer but give away your old devices. It’s that simple. There are multiple ways you can do this such as handing down your old tech to relatives or giving them to charities that repurpose them for those who cannot afford it. In recent years, various technology brands have offered trade-in services to get money off another purchase. This method not only declutters your junk drawer but it also reduces the amount of natural resources used in future products.

Pretty cute and pretty green

This tip is phone-specific but phone cases often use materials such as plastic that aren't the best for the environment after use. Especially with the way smartphones have developed a lot in the last five years alone and it is more common to have multiple phone cases during one phone’s lifetime. Annually, more than 1 billion phone cases are produced and they are used for between 1-2 years before spending more than their initial use time sailing the seven seas or not decomposing in landfills. 

However, companies such as Pela have made waves in the industry with their compostable phone case and other tech accessories. This product doesn’t come with all the same effects as your average phone case and after you’re done with it, it’ll actually decompose.  

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article. 

The Restart Project. This is a UK-based charity and social enterprise with the aim to make repairing electronics more accessible with workshops and a repair directory. Learn more here.

Computers 4 Charity. This charity that champions circular economy with technology reuse to care for the environment and community. Find out more here.

AbilityNet. This is a charity that aims to make technology more accessible for those with disabilities. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Climate Action, Responsible Consumption And Production. 

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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