9 Ways to Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint

E-waste is a serious problem that no one person can tackle alone, but collectively we can make a big difference. Whether you’re investing in NFTs and mining cryptocurrency or just trying to use technology more mindfully by wearing those trendy sustainable blue light glasses and your sustainable phone case, here are nine ways to reduce your digital carbon footprint.

  1. Give Yourself a Tech Break — Before we jump into all these neat little tricks you can do with your devices to reduce your digital carbon footprint, consider one of the easiest ways to reduce by not using them at all for a period of time. Embrace being bored from time to time. Enjoy the great outdoors. Read a physical book. Sit and meditate. Not only is it good for the environment, but it will also help your brain relax. Humans weren’t meant to constantly look at stock, news and social media notifications on a tiny screen. Dedicate one day or a couple of hours a day to completely unplugging. Your mind and the Earth will thank you. However, if you must go on that one-mile run with your music, make sure you have an AirPods case cover to keep your AirPods in good condition, which brings us to our next tip.
  2. Take Care of Your Electronics — An ounce of prevention is better than having to throw away your whole phone because you dropped it one day as you were walking. It happens to the best of us, and that’s why you need to protect all of your devices with the latest cases. It’s not just about saving money, but you can also save yourself from future frustration or embarrassment when your date looks at you funny because they see that giant crack all along the side of your iPhone.
  3. Protect Your Data — Use a browser such as Firefox that has enhanced tracking protection. It has standard and strict privacy settings. You can even customize it to block cookies for specific websites, third-party trackers or all cookies. When you block most data transfers and processing, you’ll be using less energy while protecting your privacy. After all, do you really want to keep getting ads tailored to you for snow gear because, suddenly, Big Brother knows you just booked your ski trip?
  4. Minimize Push Notifications — No one wants to get pinged every other minute because that one person in your group text message thread has an Android that so-and-so laughed at an image or loved that message. It’s endless, annoying and, quite honestly, you’re probably getting anxious every time you see it come up on your phone. Instead, minimize push notifications by muting that thread. Reduce notifications all around by muting game updates, e-mail or news alerts.
  5. Update Your Operating System — Update your device’s settings so that downloads for your phone or computer’s automatic updates are done automatically. It’s not only practical for getting rid of any software bugs and improving functionality, but it also improves the health of your device’s battery. When battery performance is optimized, your device runs more efficiently and you’ll be reducing your digital carbon footprint, too.
  6. Stop Videos From Autoplaying — Have you ever gone down the YouTube rabbit hole and started playing one video after another after another and, before you know it, you’re suddenly locked into beauty influencer drama channels and wondered how you got there in the first place when all you wanted was to watch a video on how to grow your indoor garden? Fine, that seems oddly specific and personal, but you should adjust your autoplay settings on YouTube to stop doing that. It will conserve energy on your phone, laptop or smart TV.
  7. Download Instead of Streaming A study from the University of Glasgow suggests that streaming music can lead to over 200 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions. The alternative is to download music instead. For example, if you have Spotify premium, you can choose to go offline by putting your iPhone on airplane mode and listening to the music you’ve downloaded from Spotify.
  8. Keep Your Devices Dry and Cool — Have you ever seen your phone acting strangely or suddenly turning off because the weather outside was frightful, and you decided to go outside anyway? That’s because our devices shouldn’t be exposed to extreme weather conditions. They’re meant to keep cool and dry. Exposure to extreme temperatures, whether way too hot or below freezing, can drain the battery of your devices. When it’s hot outside, make sure you cover your devices so they’re not directly exposed to sunlight.
  9. Plant Trees While You Search — Instead of using Google all the time every time you search for your next favorite pancake recipe, use the search engine Ecosia. The Ecosia search engine donates 80 percent of its profits to nonprofit organizations focused on reforestation. Their ad revenue from your searches goes to plant trees in places like Brazil to protect thousands of endangered plants and animals, Burkina Faso to restore desertified land and Indonesia to also create alternative sources of income.

We hope these nine ideas help inspire you to find a way to reduce your carbon footprint. Whatever change you make, either big or small, makes an impact!


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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