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10 tips to reduce our environmental footprint (and a few more!)

While technology has its positive aspects, it also has a significant negative impact on the environment. Today, half of the environmental impact of digital technology is caused by equipment. Devices have an increasingly short life cycle, which multiplies the amount of electronic waste around us. We must therefore make wise choices to limit our environmental impact.

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By Florie Cardeur, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator, OPEQ

While technology has its positive aspects, it also has a significant negative impact on the environment. Today, half of the environmental impact of digital technology is caused by equipment. Devices have an increasingly short life cycle, which multiplies the amount of electronic waste around us. We must therefore make wise choices to limit our environmental impact.

It is essential today to change our consumption habits for our world of tomorrow. Taking action on a daily basis means reducing our environmental footprint. What actions can we take to reduce our digital impact?

Today, technology has become necessary, unavoidable and above all very polluting. Indeed, the technology market is currently one of the most polluting. In 2019, it produced more than 50 million tons of waste and consumed very large quantities of fresh water. Indeed, it takes :

  • More than 1,000 liters of water to produce a phone; 
  • More than 1,500 liters of water to produce a computer;
  • More than 240 kg of fossil fuels and 22 kg of chemicals to produce one computer.

10 tips to reduce your environmental footprint

Here are 10 tips suggested by Radio-Canada to help us understand and reduce the environmental footprint of our daily digital use:

  1. Use tools like the Carbonalyser app to measure the digital footprint of our consumption habits.
  2. Download the music or videos we listen to several times to consume them "locally" on our devices.
  3. Prefer using the wifi network for videos rather than mobile data since cellular antennas are more energy consuming!
  4. Clean up our photos, videos and documents stored on data clouds to reduce their weight.
  5. Test applications that automatically clean up our email boxes.
  6. Turn off the cameras during video conferences or telephone meetings.
  7. Use an eco-friendly search engine such as Ecosia, Lilo or Ecogine or enter the addresses directly rather than through a search engine.
  8. Reduce emailing by avoiding unnecessary "well received", "thank you" and "have a good weekend".
  9. Disable autoplay and lower the default resolution of videos on social networks.
  10. Reduce our consumption and limit our screen time.

OPEQ and the environment

Giving a second life to computer equipment is the mission of OPEQ (Computers for Quebec Schools). The organization works in a circular economy perspective and has set itself the goal of preserving the environment through computer reuse. All the work done by the technicians allows them to maintain or extend the expected life of the devices. Moreover, the redistribution of equipment allows many people to obtain refurbished computer equipment that would otherwise have been thrown away.

With the latest technology and innovations, we are often tempted to renew our electronic devices before their end of life. These consumption habits have an impact on our environment and our electronic waste.

In any case, whatever the reason for the change of device, let's not forget that different options are available to us regarding the purchase of computer equipment... and that some of them can reduce the impact on the environment!

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