A guide to ending technological waste

New technologies are omnipresent in our environment and their number has never stopped growing. The Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) has published a guide to adopt best practices to avoid IT waste .

Called “Daily computer eco-behaviors”, it is a comprehensive collection that analyzes the technological market and informs the public through data detailing the ecological impact of the actions we carry out every day.

A guide to ending technological waste

Because eco-gestures concern the material itself, but also all the things made thanks to it.

Technological hyperconsumption

When using a computer, we are all aware of the energy impact of its manufacture, of its operation thanks to its energy connection, but it is difficult for us to imagine the more abstract consumption of the web, of the sending an email or a download.

Indeed, as Bela LOTO HIFFLER, author of the guide, points out, "an email with a one megabyte document attached consumes the equivalent of a light bulb on for an hour". This same email can travel 15,000 kilometers to reach its recipient. Thus, each email emits 20 grams of CO2 to reach its destination.

And when we think of the billions of emails that pass through each day, we imagine the considerable amount of CO2 released on a daily basis. Information and communication techniques (ICT) have revolutionized our social mode and facilitated exchanges, with a major energy cost, difficult to conceive because of its abstract side.

In the meantime, the French own 160 million computer products, 74 million mobiles and 86 million computers, tablets, and other miscellaneous items. Each year, they buy 25 million phones and 10 million additional computer devices, which leads to the production of 30,000 tons of electrical and electronic waste each year.

Not to mention that 83% of French people are connected to the web and each household includes several mobiles. An alarmist observation that wants to move awareness to move towards responsible ecology in a field little "considered" on this aspect.

According to Ademe, building a computer requires 240 kilos of fossil fuels, 22 kilos of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water. And screens need rare earths, a material found mainly in China, which only provides 20 years of reserves …

A guide to ending technological waste

When we imagine the speed and importance of global production, we also imagine the colossal amount of waste produced and “wasted” on our non-renewable energies.

And the planned obsolescence in all of this?

Fortunately, the innovations presented by manufacturers tend more and more in the direction of eco-responsibility. Their research leads to many findings to use renewable energies and reduce global pollution. Every day, new concepts in this direction are emerging.

The manufacturer is responsible for extending the lifespan of products to reduce this waste, and thus annihilate the hypocritical concept of planned obsolescence. Here is my article about it here . But the consumer also has the responsibility to make "thoughtful" purchases to forgo renewing their equipment frequently and take care of their equipment to make it last.

Connected devices consume an average of 800 kWh per year for a household, or 40% of electricity expenditure excluding heating, explains Roland Marion, engineer at Ademe. Obviously, this figure will only increase, in particular because of the ubiquitous WiFi and the boxes and decoders which increase electricity consumption. Especially since they are very often on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This is why a great solution exists and it is very simple, turn off the products when they are not in use. The engineer specifies that an extinguished box represents 20 euros of savings per year. A small sum to add to all the other products around us.

But apart from this tiny financial windfall, it is above all the gesture for the planet that counts. Because the 13 million French people who spend 200 days a year in offices could have a positive impact if several simple measures were applied.

For example, putting the computer to sleep or shutting it down, turning off unused lights, removing animated screen savers, limiting the number of open programs, avoiding heavy attachments … a multitude of small actions that always consume less energy .

This is why Ademe will distribute its excellent guide on a larger scale to inform and empower companies on an aspect that is often neglected. And let's not forget the printers often used in abundance for little used papers and 16% of the printed sheets never read!

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